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ISSUE #481 

USA $3.95 

CANADA $4.95 

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El Supremo & Founder 
Wayne Green W2NSD/1 

Associate Publisher 
F. t. Marion 

Executive Editor 
Jack Burnett 

Managing Editor 

Joyce Sawtelle 

Technical Editor 
Larry Antonuk WB9RRT 

Contributing Culprits 

Jim Gray II 
Jack Heller KB7NO 
Chuck Houghton WB6IGP 
Andy MacAIIister W5ACM 
Joe Moell K0OV 
Steve Nowak KE8YN/5 
Dr. Rick Olsen N6NR 

Advertising Sales 

Evelyn Garrison WS7A 
21704 S.E. 35th St. 
fssaquah WA 98029 
425-557-961 1 


Frances Hyvarinen 

Data Entry & Other Stuff 
Norman Marion 

Business Office 

Editorial - Advertising - Circulation 

Feedback - Product Reviews 

73 Amateur Radio Today Magazine 

70 Hancock Rd. 

Peterborough NH 03458-1107 



Reprints: $3 per article 
Back issues: $5 each 

Printed in the USA 


ISSUE #481 

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^o Amateur 
#«P. Radio Today 







Announcing the Yingling ET-1 — W2UVV 

A new QRP classic. 

More than a Modem Monitor — W7RXV 

Here's another great project from the Gizmo King. 

Inside Digital TV/VCR Tuners — W6WTU 

Part 4: Testing and binary data format 

Skinflint Lightning Arrestors 

Great protection on the cheap. 

- K8IHQ 


49 Ad Index 

64 Barter 'n' Buy 

60 Calendar Events 

44 The Digital Port — KB7NO 

47 The DX Forum — N6NR 

54 Homing In — K0OV 

4 Never Say Die — W2NSD/1 

53 On the Go — KE8YN/4 

61 Propagation — Gray 
58 GRP — WB8VGE 

1 QRX 

63 Radio Bookshop 

35 Angel Voices — KC6JGS 

This was no ordinary beam tuning experience. 

37 Introducing the Perfective 1 — Laughlin 

This noninvasive current meter features a clever circuit 
that YOU can build. 



QRX . . . 

Hams and Affirmative Action 

Several predicted it would happen. Now a call for 
more minorities to be ushered into ham radio is grow- 
ing on the Internet and on the air in some Eastern 
localities. This, as a growing number of ham radio 
activists are demanding that the government enact 
an affirmative action policy geared at bringing more 
minorities, females, and people of color to the ham 
radio bands. 

Those promoting the idea say that you need only 
attend any ham club meeting to see that all minority 
groups are grossly under-represented in the hobby. 
They cite the growing electronic divide in the percent- 
age of white versus black households who have Internet 
access. They say that this same chasm exists in 

amateur radio but only more so. And they also say 
that the only way to bring racial and gender equality 
to ham radio is to actively recruit minority peoples 
and, if necessary, waive the examination process. 

Those who oppose'such an Affirmative Action 
program cite the fact that proponents would first 
have to prove persistent and pervasive past dis- 
crimination in order to justify special requirements. 
They point out that there is a finite legal definition 
of discrimination and that a group being under-rep- 
resented in an activity of its own accord is not nec- 
essarily suffering discrimination. They also point out 
that discrimination means being excluded on the 
basis of race, creed, color, gender, or national origin 

Continued on page 8 

73 Amateur Radio Today (ISSN 1052-2522) is published monthly by 73 Magazine, 70 Hancock Rd., 
Peterborough NH 03458-1107. The entire contents ©2000 by 73 Magazine. No part of this publication may be 
reproduced without written permission of the publisher, which is not ail that difficult to get, The subscription 
rate is: one year $24.97, two years $44.97; Canada: one year $34.21 , two years $57.75, including postage and 
7% GST. Foreign postage: $19 surface, $42 airmail additional per year, payable in US funds on a US bank. 
Second class postage is paid at Peterborough, NH, and at additional mailing offices. Canadian second class 
mail registration #178101. Canadian GST registration #125393314. Microfilm edition: University Microfilm, Ann 
Arbor Ml 48106. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to 73 Amateur Radio Today, 70 Hancock Rd., 
Peterborough NH 03458-1107. 73 Amateur Radio Today is owned by Shabromat Way Ltd. of Hancock NH. 

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CCDWA-2, B&W CCD Camera, wide-angie lens $69.95 

CCDPH-2, B&W CCD Camera, slim fit pin-hole lens. , $69,95 
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IR-1, IR Illuminator Kit for B&W cameras $24.95 

IB-1, Interface Board Kit $14,95 

Operates in standard AM broad- 
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AM-25, Professional AM Transmitter Kit S1 29.95 

AM-1. Entry level AM Radio Transmitter Kit. . .529.95 
CAM, Matching Case Set lor AM-1 S14.95 

Mini Radio 

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AR-1, Airband 108-136 MHz Kit $29.95 FR-6. 6 Meter FM Ham Band Kit $34.95 

HFRC-1, WWV 10 MHz (crystal controlled) Kit $34.95 

FR-1, FM Broadcast Band 88-103 MHz Kit ....... . $24.95 

SR-1, Shortwave 4-11 MHz Band Kit $29.95 

SCA-1 SCA Stibcarrier Adapter kit for FM radio .,, , $27,95 

FR-10, 10 Meter FM Ham Band Kit $34.95 

FR-1 46, 2 Meter FM Ham Band Kit $34.-95 

FR-220, 220 MHz FM Ham Band Kit $34.95 

Matching Case Set (specify for which kit) .... $14.95 

PIC-Pro Pic Chip Programmer 

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RSG-1000B RF Signal Generator $1995.00 

Super Pro FM 


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CFM, Matching Cass and Antenna Set $14.95 

FMAC, 12 Volt DC Wall Plug Adapter $9.95 

RF Power Booster 

Add muscle to your signal, boost power up to 1 watt 
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LPA-1, Power Booster Amplifier Kit $39.95 

CLPA, Matching Case Set for LPA-1 Kit $14.95 

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FMBA-1 Outdoor Mast Mount Version of LPA-1 $59.95 

FM Station Antennas 

For maximum performance, a good antenna is needed. 
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TM-100, FM Antenna Kit $39.95 

FMA-200, Vertical Antenna $114.95 


Order Toil-free: 800-446-2295 

Sorry, no tech info, or order status at 800 number 
For Technical Info, Order Status 
Call Factory direct: 716-924-4560 


793 Canning Parkway Victor, NY 14 564 

See our complete catalog and order 
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ORDERING INFO: Satisfaction Guaranteed- Examine for 1 days, il 
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dents add 7% sales tax. Sorry, no CODs. Foreign orders, add 20% 
for surface mail or use credit card and specify shipping method. 

Number 1 on your Feedback card 


Wayne Green W2NSD/1 

Traffic Tickets 

How would you like to 
know a way to avoid getting 
any points on your license the 
next time you get a traffic 
ticket? Here's how you can 
take advantage of the com- 
puterized traffic ticket sys- 
tems they are using in every 
state. This information sup- 
posedly comes from someone 
who works for the computer 
company that sets up the da- 
tabase for the motor vehicle 

Here's how you work it. 
When you get your fine, send 
a check to pay for it. But 
(love those buts), instead of 
paying the actual fine, send 
the check for a few dollars 
more than the fine. The sys- 
tem will then have to send 
you a check for the differ- 
ence. Do not, heh-heh, cash 
that refund check. Shred it, or 
have it framed, but do not 
cash it. 

Since points are not as- 
sessed on your license until 
all financial transactions are 
complete, you' 11 beat the sys- 
tem, which has gotten its 
money, so it won't bother you 

There, has that paid for 
your subscription to 73 for 
next year? 

Executive Order 

I understand that Clinton 
signed an Executive Order on 
9/30/00 to the effect that the 
military now has the right to 
give any member of the 
armed forces any inoculation, 
any time, and at any place. 
This has the force of law. 

This, I suspect, has to do 
with several of our military 
refusing to be inoculated with 
the anthrax vaccine. 60 Min- 
utes had a segment about an of- 
ficer who refused the vaccine 

4 73 Amateur Radio Today • Dece 

and was discharged as a 

Considering the quantity of 
medical complaints from 
people who have had the vac- 
cine and suffered sometimes 
drastic consequences, as re- 
ported on the Coctst-To-Coast 
show by Joyce Riley, with a 
growing number of their ba- 
bies being seriously de- 
formed, there has to be a lot 
going on here that wc aren't 
hearing about. 

On my last interview on the 
show, I suggested that some 
sort of mass immunization 
program for anthrax was the 
only logical explanation I 
could think of to explain this 
smothering of our whole 
country with those mysteri- 
ous chein trails. Or have you 
looked up lately? 

I cited Bioterrorism, a book 
I've reviewed in my Secret 
Guide to Wisdom which makes 
a very good case for Iraqi 
groups all around America 
brewing anthrax to be sprayed 
in our major cities and from 
cropdusting planes in rural 
areas. The book says that 
leaks from some CIA-infil- 
trated Iraqi cells claim that 
their aim is to kill around 200 
million Americans within a 
few days in retaliation for 
their defeat in the Gulf War. 

Is this just another con- 
spiracy theory? Well, it's a 
practical and relatively inex- 
pensive way to attack us, so it 
makes a lot of sense from that 

and the eight other federal se- 
cret agencies, undoubtedly 
know about this, but don't 
have any way to be sure of 
stopping all terrorist cells. If 
they announced a confirmation 
of the situation, there could be 
one heck of a panic as the pub- 
lic demanded anthrax vaccine 
mber 2000 

shots, which are in relatively 
short supply. Plus, the serious 
side effects of the shots could 
then trigger millions of mal- 
practice suits. A more gentle 
spraying of an immunizing 
agent over the country might 
help protect us . from being 
killed by an anthrax attack, 
merely making us awfully 
sick instead of dead. 

I discussed this idea on the 
Coctst-To-Coast program in 
early June and got quite a few 
letters agreeing with- my as- 
sessment. No one challenged 

By the way, Bioterrorism 
lists places where you can get 
protective clothing and masks. 
Y'know, if something like this 
is launched at the next 
Ramadan holy holiday, it 
could gut every communica- 
tions system except amateur 
radio. If they are able to kill 
or disable half of the people 
in the country, it sure would 
create a mess. 


On the subject of bioter- 
rorism, a couple of the books 
I review in my Secret Guide 
to Wisdom make very good 
cases for the AIDS epidemic 
being spread intentionally to 
certain groups. Like Africans 
and homosexuals. I suppose 
those responsible might look 
on that as one way to stem the 
African population explosion. 

I've corresponded with some 
of the authorities in South Af- 
rica about this, explaining 
that I'm convinced that AIDS 
can be cured, and without any 
expensive medications. The 
same simple, inexpensive ap- 
proach that works for cancer 

and other serious illnesses, as 
covered in my Secret Guide 
to Health, should take care 
of AIDS, no matter how it 
is spread. This, apparently, 
wasn't what they wanted to 
hear. Well, there's no money 
in it if people don't need 
hospitalization and drugs. 


' If you're not a Coast-To- 
Coast listener, you missed all 
those programs Art had with 
the guy who discovered that 
people tend to give them- 
selves away .when you play a 
tape of their Talk in reverse. 

The whole idea is ridicu- 
lous, of course. Except that 
he was able to come up with 
some surprisingly clear tape 
reversals which put a lie to 
what people were.saying. 

Anyway, I got an E-mail 
from Joe Egles K2UX, who 
has been reversing some of 
our astronauts and NASA. He 
has one of Buzz Aldrin say- 
ing, "Man was not here," and 
a mission controller saying, 
"Apollo a lie from its onset . . . 
I'll tell about you... I'll tell ... 
no mission at all." Joe's think- 
ing in terms of a book with a 
CD of the reversals. 

Or do you still prefer to 
think Wayne is crazy for 
doubting our going to the 
Moon? Only if you haven't 
bothered to do your home- 
work. By the time you've fin- 
ished the 568-page Dark 
Moon book, you'll be as con- 
vinced as I. Yes, I have some 
copies available. $40, includ- 
ing priority mail from Radio 
Bookshop. Hardbound copies 

Continued on page 6 

Biq Savinqs on Radio Scanners 


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Bearcat®895XLT-A1 Radio Scanner 

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continued from page 4 

are $50. For a little extra you 
can go first class in life. 


Some time ago, I men- 
tioned that a TV expose show 
had a segment explaining that 
many years ago doctors at the 
Johns Hopkins hospital dis- 
covered a special dietary cure 
for epilepsy — and buried it. 
Except for the persistence of 
one woman doctor, this cure 
might have been lost. 

One of my readers, Diane 
Miller of Hilo HI, sent an up- 
date that you should note if 
you know of anyone with a 
child with epilepsy. You can 
get the info on this by going 
to [] 
and searching for "ketogenic 
diet" in the Search Box. 


What would you think of a 
person who held up a medical 
book from the 1700s, claiming 

that its teachings are the whole 
truth? That all doctors today 
should follow its teachings? 

Or the person who points to 
a math book written in 1536 
as the last word in math? Or 
someone who claims that a 
book on physics published in 
1858 is what we should all 
believe? Or an electronics 
text from 1928 as the end-all 
book on the subject? 

Ridiculous, of course. Yet, 
when it comes to spiritual 
matters, the so-called experts 
in the field are asking us to 
take as fact books that were 
published 1,500 to 2,500 years 
ago as the latest words on the 
subject. How can we honestly 
believe that in 2,000 years we 
haven't made any progress at 
all in our understanding of 
our spiritual side? 

We've gone from smoke 
signals and the Pony Express 
to the Internet. From dead 
reckoning navigation to glo- 
bal positioning satellites that 
tell us within a few feet where 
we are anywhere in the world. 
However, in spiritual matters 

the whole world seems un- 
able to recognize or acknowl- 
edge anything we've learned 
in the last thousand years or 
so, much less the last hundred 
years, when every other field 
of knowledge has been accel- 
erating, making the texts of 
just a few years ago obsolete. 

The resistance to new infor- 
mation in the spiritual field is 
as strong (stronger, actually) as 
that in the other fields. Like 
Galileo and Copernicus in as- 
tronomy. Like Semmelwise 
and Pasteur in medicine. Like 
the reality of meteors and 
plate tectonics. Like the blind 
eye many of today's leading 
physicists have turned to the 
cold fusion phenomenon. 

In spiritual matters, our 
"spiritual leaders" have ig- 
nored all developments not 
cited in their 2,000-year-old 
textbooks. Reincarnation? Heck, 
they edited that out of the 
Bible 1,500 years ago. Com- 
municating with the spirits of 
the departed? Mere supersti- 
tion. In the medical field, any 
uncomfortable new ideas are 

immediately called snake oil 
or quackery by the medical 

Having regressed many 
people to their past lives, I 
don't have to depend entirely 
on the many very well docu- 
mented books on the subject 
to accept the reality. In read- 
ing about the carefully docu- 
mented scientific experiments 
with telepathy, precognition, 
psychokinesis, and so on by 
Dr. Rhine at Duke University 
50 years ago, and the recent 
Princeton PEAR Labs, how 
can I reject this reality if I have 
an even partially open mind? 

Anyone whose mind isn't 
clamped shut by religious be- 
liefs will find that there have 
been a lot of interesting de- 
velopments in the spiritual 

Read some of the mind-ex- 
panding books by Boone, 
Crookall, Radin, Graff, Mon- 
roe, Moody, Bird, Bander, 
Alexandersson, Stone, Kubris, 
Lehto, Stephens, Jaegers, 

Continued on page 59 


Become A 


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6 73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 

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QRK . . . 

continued from page 1 

and not because they cannot or do not want to 
pass a federally administered exam. 

But those pushing such an Affirmative Action 
program counter by saying numerical goals for 
admission to Amateur Radio are for more impor- 
tant than maintaining what they cad artificial bar- 
riers to the hobby that are created by the federally 
mandated entrance examinations. They say that 
it's far more meaningful to fully integrate the 
Amateur Radio hobby, which they claim is tradi- 
tionally closed to minorities because of discrimi- 
nation on the part of an elderly, male-dominated 

Thanks to Tuck Miller NZ6T, via Newsline, Bill 
Pasternak WA6ITF, editor. 

Lambda vs. ARRL vs. 

The Lambda Amateur Radio Club wants 
the American Radio Relay League to sever 
ties with the Boy Scouts of America. This, 
over what Lambda says is the Scouts' policy 
of discriminating against gays. 

The Lambda Amateur Radio Club is an orga- 
nization composed primarily of gay and lesbian 
radio amateurs. In an open letter from its presi- 
dent, Art Joly N1RPN, to League president Jim 
Haynie W5JBP, Lambda requested that the ARRL 
officially and publicly distance itself from the Boy 
Scouts of America because of the organization's 
policy to dismiss and exclude gay Scouts and 

Haynie informed his counterpart in the 
Lambda Amateur Radio Club that the League 
will not drop its ties to the Boy Scouts of 
America, despite Lambda's claim of discrimi- 
nation against the gay community by the scouting 

As expected, the ARRL did not issue a public 
response. Instead, Lambda chose to make 
Haynie's private response public, as quoted by 
Lambda spokesperson Jim Kelly KK3K. Said 

"I would suggest to you that it is unnecessary 
for the ARRL to take any position on subjects 
that do not pertain specifically to Amateur Ra- 
dio. It would be beyond the scope of the League's 
charter to address political topics unrelated to 
its mission and purpose." 

The letter came only days before this past fall's 
Scout Jamboree on the Air, or JOTA. The ARRL 
is a long-time, highly visible supporter of the 
United States Scouting movement, and has very 
close ties to the Boy Scouts in particular. As such, 
nobody expected it to give in to the Lambda call 
for it to sever its ties. 

Thanks to the Lambda ARC (press release) 
and, via Newsline, Bill 
Pasternak WA6ITF. 
8 73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 

MURS: Another CB-like 

With little fanfare, the FCC created the Multi- 
Use Radio Service on July 12th. Its birth went 
just about unnoticed by everyone except those 
in the telecommunications industry who had 
fought long and hard to see it become a reality. 
And its reality is that it is another hobbylike radio 
service that could be in competition with ham 
radio for users. 

MURS is really a new kind of license-free Citi- 
zens Radio Service, but one not subject to the 
vagaries of high frequency propagation. This is 
because MURS operates in the 151 MHz spec- 
trum — not far above the two-meter ham radio 
band. But unlike 2 meters, the MURS service is 
expected to be filled by everyone from hobbyists 
to commercial users, all vying for local commu- 
nications access that is virtually regulation-free. 

Unlike its predecessor, the micropower Fam- 
ily Radio Service in the 460 MHz band, MURS 
permits users to run up to 2 watts of effective 
radiated power. There is no restriction on con- 
necting external antennas to a MURS radio, as 
long as the 2 watt effective radiated power re- 
striction is observed. Also permitted will be phone 
patching, paging, telemetry, and remote control 
operation. In addition to voice, the FCC is per- 
mitting MURS users to transmit packet, data, and 

Does MURS sound like a clone of the VHF 
and UHF Amateur Radio service? Well it takes it 
a step beyond because there is no restriction on 
the content of communications in the Multi-Use 
Radio Service. Also, repeaters will be permitted, 
extending the range of communications across 
an entire region. 

But there are a couple of negatives. First, there 
are only five MURS channels. They are at 1 51 .82, 
151.88, 151.94, 154.57, and 154.60 MHz. The 
first three are listed as having an 11 .25 kHz band- 
width, while the last two permit a 12.5 kHz-wide 
signal. Also, continuous transmissions are per- 
mitted on four of the five MURS channels, which 
is bound to cause havoc with those attempting 
to share with voice and other modes. 

So what will the impact of MURS be on ham 
radio? First, it will interest kids who want to con- 
nect their computers to the Internet so that they 
can constantly be on-line. It will probably also 
siphon off those adults who have been consid- 
ering becoming radio amateurs but do not want 
to take the time to learn the theory, rules, and 
regulations. (No formal license is required for 
MURS.) This is almost a parallel to those who 
fought to create a code-free amateur license 
because they did not want to learn the Morse. 
And as we saw from ham radio's experience 
with no-code licensing, those numbers can be 

MURS was scheduled to have begun last 

November 13. We hope our readers will keep us 
updated on developments in their area ... 

Thanks to Bill Burnett KT4SB, via Newsline, 
Bill Pasternak WA61TF, editor. 

Airliner Ban Continues 

If you have any thoughts of using your two- 
meter handheld or a cellular phone the next time 
you fly on a commercial airliner in the United 
States — forget it. A recent decision makes it 
look like the decade-old ban on the use of these 
devices and others will continue. 

The decision lets airlines continue restricting in- 
flight use of electronic devices. It comes after tele- 
communications experts told Congress that — 
while there is no definitive proof that cellular phones 
pose safety risks on airplanes —the devices should 
stay banned as a precautionary measure. 

The Federal Aviation Administration's Thomas 
McSweeny testified that restricting the use of these 
devices prevents a disaster with an extremely 
remote chance of happening from taking place. 

McSweeny's testimony took place before the 
House of Representatives' Transportation Subcom- 
mittee. The hearing was held because lawmakers 
say the public is confused about airline rules gov- 
erning use of devices including laptop computers, 
hand-held games, pagers,__2-way radios, and 
cellular phones. 

Tennessee representative John Duncan says 
the ban against cellular phones in the air is one 
of the biggest causes of altercations between 
passengers and crew on board airplanes. 

McSweeny says that the FAA remains con- 
cerned that radiation from electronic devices 
could cause errors in the aircraft instrument land- 
ing systems or global positioning readings. He 
notes that many hospitals prohibit using cellular 
phones and othertransmitters because they can 
interfere with health monitoring devices. 

But other witnesses testified that while there 
have been incidents in which portable electronic 
devices may have interfered with aircraft opera- 
tions, they have never been able to repeat such 
episodes under controlled conditions. 

The FCC's engineering and technology chief, 
Dale Hatfield W01FO, also testified. Hatfield says 
that Commission rules also prohibit cellular trans- 
missions aboard in-flight aircraft. That, he says, is 
because calls made from high altitudes keep 
phones on the ground from being able to use the 
same cellular telephone base station frequencies. 

Representative James McGovern urged the 
FAA to promote technology which detects emis- 
sions from inside an aircraft cabin that could pro- 
duce electromagnetic interference. That kind of 
technology, McGovern says, could lead to greater 
in-flight safety. 

Meanwhile, the in-flight ban on the use of 

Continued on page 59 



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Glenn E. Yingling W2UW 

28 Lawrence Ave. 

P.O. Box 62 

Newark Valley NY 13811-0062 

Announcing the Yingling ET-1 

A new QRP classic. 

Did you ever want to see what you could do with just a few parts? Well, here's one 
experiment you might find interesting. I decided to see what I could do toward making 
a small transceiver that would operate from the power of one "D"-cell flashlight battery. 
This article describes how successful I was in reaching that goal. 

My approach started out with 
the following objectives: (1) 
Use one transistor and 
switch it between the receiver and 
transmitter sections of the transceiver. 
(2) Design both to operate from 9 volts 
DC. (3) Find a good switch and mount 
the transistor directly onto its common 
terminals. (4) Put the receiver compo- 
nents on one printed circuit card and 
the transmitter components on another 
printed circuit card. (5) Wire every- 
thing up with cables and connectors so 
that if you wanted to change either 
circuit, you could just plug in a new 
circuit card. (6) Since a transceiver is 
defined as a transmitter and a receiver 
that share common parts, I will claim 






MPF 102 

Fig. 1. System configuration. 

10 73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 

that what I have built can be called a 
"ti"ansceiver," not a "trans-receiver." 
Hi. And (7) to minimize the parts count 
and compfexity, design the ET-1 to be 
a one-band, 40 meter rig. 

The overall approach is illustrated in 
Fig. 1. 

Try it yourself 

This project is easy to build, You 
don't need any special printed circuit 
cards, because for 40 meters the layout 
is not overly critical. You can use 
"ugly" construction if you desire. I 
chose to use pieces of the Radio Shack 
project card No. 276-150A because it 
makes everything a little neater. (A lot 
neater than my usual work!) 

You can even build this project on a 
"pine board" if you like, and it will 
work fine on 40 meters. 

Design source 

The circuits described come from 
everywhere! Of course, as the project 
developed, I had to make my own en- 
gineering changes to make everything 
work to my satisfaction. 

The receiver circuit is a regenerative 
detector (regen). The regen approach 
provides the best trade-off when 

considering pacts count, sensitivity, 
and cost. It will receive both CW and 
SSB , and it will compete in sensitivity 
with your main rig>*Sounds impos- 
sible, but it is true. I have heard weak 
signals on my main rig and have then 
verified that I can also hear them on 
the regen. 

In fact, you can tune in a signal on 
both sides of "null" or "zero beat" on 
the-regen, thereby getting two for the 
price of one! Of course, you should 
use high impedance earphones for this 
regen, since there is only one transistor 
in the circuit. 

The transmitter circuit is essentially 
a Pierce oscillator. This circuit is 
made up of ideas given in the ARRL 
Handbook, the QRP Notebook (WIFE), 
and the SPRAT magazine No. 69 

The resulting circuit for the ET-1 has 
the following parts count: receiver, 8; 
transmitter, 6; common transistor, 1; 
total, 15. 

The antenna connection for the ET-1 
is a coaxial cable connecting directly 
to my normal 40 meter antenna system. 
My antenna is a centerfed Zepp with 
open wire feeders and a home-brew 



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t-bd — ^Y^^fc— 1_ 






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7040 kHz 



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Fig. 2. The electrical schematic for the ET-1. Unlabeled coil is LI. 

Detailed electrical circuit 

Fig. 2 shows the electrical schematic 
of the ET-1. Please note that the 
MPF-102 transistor (Radio Shack, 
#276-2062) is mounted directly on the 
triple pole double throw (3PDT) com- 
mon switch terminals. It is used for 
both the receiver and the transmitter 
sections. I selected the FET transistor 
because it works good in the regen. 
(See Table 1 for the parts list of the 
Fig. 2 schematic.) 

Receiver notes 

For the 40 meter band, tuning is set 
with the following: The 320 pF cap 
gets you to the 7.0 MHz range. The 
6-70 pF cap lets you home in on the 

CI, 2, 7 

6-70 pF trimmer (Jim-Pak TC6-70) 


820 pF 


560 pF 


5-50 pF variable (regen control) 


320 pF (band select) 


Tiny one plate variable (band spread) 


0.1 uF 


T50-2 core with 14 turns 

L2, 3 

100 pH Inductor 


MPF102 FET (Radio Shack) 


50k pot 



Table 1. Parts list. 

frequency of interest — in my case, 
7040 kHz. 

The small variable cap (one plate) 
lets you tune around 7040 kHz as a 
bandspread control. 

The 5-50 pF variable cap provides 
feedback to the oscillator for sensitiv- 
ity control. Adjust it until the regen is 
on the verge of oscillation. Any 
"squeal" indicates that you have gone 
too far! 

This circuit works well and the lay- 
out for 40 meters is not critical, but try 
to keep your wires short. 

You will hear a signal on both sides 
of "zero beat," allowing you to hear 
each signal "twice" on your dial, un- 
like your superheterodyne. 

The 9-component (including the 
transistor) regen receiver will bring in 
signals comparable to those received 
by your expensive receiver. But, the 
selectivity will not be as good. 

The downside of this story is that it 
is so sensitive that it can be easily 
overloaded by a strong signal or a 
nearby station. (I didn't care, so I did 
not try to put in any attenuation or vol- 
ume control.) Also, at night with a con- 
test on, the regen is pretty much 
unusable. (If you like, you can get some 
degree of attenuation by putting a vari- 
able resistor in series with the 9 volts 
supplied to the regen.) 

With the limited frequency range 
that I wanted (7040 ± 15 kHz), once 

Continued on page 1 2 

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73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 11 

'Is ■ . ' : 



, ' 

Photo A. The switch after the transistor has been mounted, and the cables that are used 
to connect to the receiver and transmitter cards. A third cable is used to connect the 
switch to the external plugs and jacks, which include the antenna connector, the head- 
phone jack, the key jack, and the power plug. When assembled, the switch is installed on 
the front panel so that all "switchover" is accomplished with one throw of the switch. 

Announcing the Yingling ET-1 

continued from page 1 1 

you set the regen control, you may not 
need to adjust it again. 

Transmitter notes 

Adjust the 50k pot and the 6-70 pF 
trimmer for maximum output of the 
transmitter into a 50 ohm resistor. 

The tj-ansmitter puts out approximately 
20 milliwatts. Power is calculated as 


1 . (Peak to Peak volts)/2 x 0.707 = 
volts rms. For ET-1: 3 volts/2 x 0.707 
= 1.06Vrms. 

2. (Vrms squared)/50 ohms = Power 
in watts. For ET-1: (1.06 x 1.06)/50 = 
0.022 W = 22 mW. 

Photo B. The inside of the ET-1 unit with the switch installed but without any of the cards 
installed. I used pieces of an old card connector to provide mounting for my cards. The 
connectors have pin connections on them, but they are not used for electrical connec- 
tions. I used them because they provided a nice springlike pressure slot to hold the cards 
in position. 
12 73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 

General notes 

The 100 microhenry RF chokes are 
somewhat noncritical. Try whatever 
values you have that are greater than 
100 microhenry s. I happened to have a 
lot of the 100 microhenry chokes that 
cost me a penny each. 

The 50 k-ohm pot is also somewhat 
noncritical. Try any pot up to 500k. 

When I run this rig. I use one "D" 
cell from a flashlight for power. How- 
ever, I cheat because I use a DC-to- 
DC converter to boost the voltage up 
to 9 volts DC. 

I did not even put a power on/off 
switch on the ET-1; instead, I use the 
external power supply switch. 

I did not put a sidelone monitor on 
the ET- 1 . I just use the sidetone from 
my keyer. There is plenty of space for 
later addition of a sidetone to the trans- 
mitter card if so desired in the future. 

Detailed mechanical design 

With the information already sup- 
plied, you should be able to construct 
your own ET-1 using your own me- 
chanical design. However, you might 
be interested in what Tended up with 
when I started looking through my 
junk box for the various parts. 

Almost immediately, I found "The 
SWITCH!!" I ran across a brand-new 
eight-pole double-throw switch that 
caused me to immediately go off on a 
tangent! I decided to switch everything 
at once instead of just the transistor. 

I switched the transistor, the antenna, 
the 9 volt power, the headphones, the 
key, and I even switched the ground. 
However. I left the Fig. 2 schematic 
with the 3PDT switch for simplicity. 
You can adjust according to your junk 

Initial setup 

The initial setup consists of connect- 
ing the ET-1 to a 50 ohm dummy load. 
Using an oscilloscope or an RF probe 
plus your multimeter, adjust the trans- 
mitter for maximum, output. Adjust the 
50 k-ohm pot first and then adjust the 
C2 'trimmer cap. No adjustments to 
these controls will be needed again. 

Set the receiver frequency to 7040 
kHz, by adjusting the variable trimmer 

Photo C, The top deck of the chassis, showing the tuning coil with 
its lumped capacitors and the one plate, variable bandspread, ca- 
pacitor. The crystal socket cable plugs into the transmitter card 
when installed. If you look closely, you may see that I used parts 
from my junk box for the capacitors, but the parts that I show in 
the parts list, the JIM PAK TC6-70, etc., will work just as well. 

Photo D. The mo cards. The receiver card is on the left and the 
transmitter card is on the right. If you look carefidly, you can see 
the pin headers soldered onto the cards for connection to the 
cable connectors. (If you consider the space that I used to mount 
these 15 components, this has got to be the world's least efficient 
packaging scheme.') Hi. 

on the top deck of the chassis. You can 
use a grid dip oscillator or a frequency 
meter, or you can even listen to the re- 
ceiver oscillator on your main receiver. 
Next, adjust the "Regen control" on 
the receiver until just on the verge of a 
"squeal." Then adjust the antenna trim- 
mer cap (CI) for best reception. One 
more tweak of the "Regen control" 
may be required. After that no further 
adjustments of these controls will be 

On-the-air performance 

It is hard to believe how well the 

ET-1 performs on the air. I have had 
no reports of chirps or clicks, and the 
frequency is stable as a rock since it is 
crystal-controlled. My crystal is listed 
as 7040 kHz. but since I did nothing to 
"pull" it to that frequency, it ended up 
transmitting on 7040.7 kHz! Since I 
am "rockbound" I usually call a lot of 
CQs or wait around until someone 
calls on my frequency. 

All of my contacts were made using 
a 1.5 VDC "D" cell connected to a 
DC-to-DC converter that I got from 
the Electronic Gold Mine (Part No. 
G6344). which boosts it up to 9 VDC. 

You may want to use a 9 volt battery 

Most of the contacts that I have 
made were the result of my calling 
CQ. This speaks well for a rig that 
only puts out 20 milliwatts. I estimate 
that 80% of the contacts were made by 
calling CQ. 

All of the QSOs wcj^made using 
the regen for reception. The regen is 
somewhat broad and other signals 
can always be heard, but it gives 
good performance. In fact, if there is 

Continued <m page 14 


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73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 13 

Photo E. The underside of the chassis, with the switch and the cards 
installed. One receiver trimmer capacitor is available at the top, but 
all other trimmers and pots are adjusted by lifting the card up some- 
what so that you can reach them without removing the cables. (Doing 
it over again, I would put all those adjustments at the top of the card. ) 

Photo F. The front panel. I did not have a nice regen control ca- 
pacitor, so I had to settle for one with a screwdriver slot. But, as I 
said in the text, once it is adjusted for the small bandspread of the 
ET-l, it requires little future adjustment. 

Announcing the Yingling ET-1 

continued from page 13 

interference, you can often tune to 
the other side of "zero beat" to get 
rid of it! 

Using my centerfed Zepp antenna 
tuned to forty meters, I have worked 
18 states and Canada. This was over a 
60-day period and I averaged about 1 
QSO a day. However, in my defense, I 
would give the following as a reason 
for the poor showing: After every 
QSO. I would sit back, pat myself on 
the back, and marvel for a long time, 
reveling in the glory of making a QSO 

with such a mini rig. However, the 
most credit should be given to those on 
the other end who were willing to put 
up with such a weak-signal station. 

Most of the QSOs were 1/2 to 3/4 of 
an hour duration, with solid copy on 
both ends. Only once or twice was a 
QSO terminated for poor copy on the 
other end. My reports ranged from 
RST 339 to 569. In general, my best 
luck was making QSOs in the morning 
and afternoon hours, probably because 
of lower noise levels on forty meters 
during those times. 

My best DX was with Ait WA4HXS 

Photo G. The rear panel. I should note that the phone jack shown is insulated so that it 
doesn't provide any connection to the chassis since the receiver 9 VDC power comes 
through this headphone jack. 
14 73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 

in Jonesboro TN ? a distance of ap- 
proximately 550 miles (as the crow 
flies), or 27.000 miles per watt! 

States worked were: CT. DE. KY, 
ME, MA, MD. MI, NC. NH, NJ, NY, 
OH, PA, RI, TN, VA, VT, WL plus 
ONT and QUE Canada. 

During most of my QSOs, when I 
commented that my transceiver con- 
sisted of only 15 parts'^that it was run- 
ning only 20 mW, and that the power 
was coming from a "D" cell flashlight 
battery. I expected some statements of 
amazement. Instead, I mostly got a big 
"ho-hum"! So I guess that it may be 
true about ham radio operators being 
mostly, "appliance operators." How- 
ever, I would like to give a special 
thanks to Lenny W2BVH. who gave 
me a "Holy Cow!" and "Congrats!' 1 

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More than a Modem Monitor 

Here's another great project from the Gizmo King. 

"Status: Dialing ... waiting for the connect prompt 
"Verifying user name and password ... 
"Logging on to the network ..." 

While many a happy "on- 
line" session has begun 
with those comments from 
the monitor, many an unhappy session 
with the computer has started with just 
the first statement. Sometimes after 
the installation of new equipment you 
may spend several anxious moments 
waiting for the "connect" prompt. After 
a few unhappy sessions, waiting for a 
connect prompt that never appeared, I 
decided to take some of the guesswork 
out of the game. 

Did the modem "pick up" the phone 
line? Did the computer really send 
out dial tones? Did a computer on 
the other end of the phone line really 

respond? Was that the voice of the 
computerized "operator" Saying that I 
had misdialed? f prefer to have my 
mysteries from another form of the 
media, commercials notwithstanding. 

What's my line? 

Knowing some of the characteristics 
of an ordinary, analog phone line 
looked like a good starting point. 
When the telephone is hung up, "on 
hook" as the telco people call it, an 
analog phone line has a nominal 48 
volts DC across it. When someone, or 
something like a computer, picks up 
the phone, and takes it "off hook," the 
voltage drops to about nine volts. 


















Fig. 1. Line monitor. Direct approach, two methods, (a) Voltmeter across the line, (b) 

LED indicator. 

16 73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 

These are NOMINAL values. Do not 
calibrate your voltmeter by using these 
values. They are close to the real world 
and make good guidelines. It amounts to 
about a 5 to 1 change from an "on-hook" 
to an "off-hook" condition. 

You. may use an analog voltmeter, a 
digital voltmeter, or an LED indicator 
to let you know when the phone line is 
in use or when it is available. Addi- 
tionally, hearing what kind of signal is 
on the line would be most useful. A 
simple, isolated audio amplifier could 
do that: no hi-fi system, just a cheap 
amplifier. Oddly enough, though, a 
cheap, solid-state amplifier gives better 
quality than is needed. Let's take a 
closer look at what we need and what 
we can get or make in order to take the 
guesswork out of our on-line modem 

Voltage indicators 

The phone line supplies enough cur- 
rent to drive most analog meters and 
any digital voltmeter that I have seen, 
and it will drive an on/off LED indica- 
tor with or without some amplifica- 
tion. We will let the phone line supply 
the current needed for that simple 
(LED) amplifier. 

Photo A. Built-in voltmeter and speaker amplifier let you monitor 
the status of the phone line as well as hear what is on it. 

Photo B. A more compact version, but with everything included. 
Tell at a glance if the computer or the kids are connected to the 
phone or if they got disconnected. The binding posts on the lower 
right let you use the monitor as an auxiliary amplifier in the 
workshop or the ham shack. 

A direct approach 

Fig. 1(a) shows a direct approach: a 
voltmeter across the line. In the real 
world, sometimes the voltage changes 
from one of the lines being plus to the 
other one: something about the call go- 
ing through another switching office. 
Whatever causes it, the lines can and 
do change polarity. So, many devices 
that connect to a phone line have a 
full-wave bridge rectifier across them. 
That keeps the voltage going in the 
same direction to your project: plus to 
the plus input. Keep in mind that the 
RING voltage runs around 90 V rms. 
So do use higher voltage diodes. And 
of course, your project may need some 
protection from the RING voltage. 

On hook 

When the phone is hung up, or on 

hook, the line sees little or no practical 
load. The voltage will measure about 
48 V DC. As long as your measuring 
system draws only a small current, it 
may stay on the line all of the time. In 
fact, I have an OFF-HOOK indicator, 
Fig. 2, across the line all of the time. 
In the past, I left a meter like the one 
in Photo B across the line until the 
LED indicator was available for that 
duty. While I cannot give you a pre- 
cise figure, the line does not seem to 
mind something on the order of one or 
two mA. 

LED me see indicator 

Fig. 1(b) shows an LED circuit that 
will let you know when the phone is 
on hook. As long as the phone line de- 
livers at least the voltage dropped in 
the zener diode, plus what the LED 




12V m " 


=W "off-hook" 

R3 ; 






6r) x of 0.2 r^. 

1 2N3904 2N3904 

Fig. 2. Off-hook indicator. Tel! at a glance if someone else is using the phone, or if it's 
OK for the computer to go "on-line. " While you are at it, let the phone line supply the 
power. The diode bridge feeds the DC from the phone line to the OFF-HOOK indicator. 
LED] shows when the phone is hung up, on-hook. LED2 shows when someone or some- 
thing has picked up the phone, taken it off-hook. Voltage across the phone line runs about 
50 V on-hook, falling to around 9 V off-hook. The different voltage levels trigger either 
LED1 or LED2: green, red. 

needs, the LED will light. Staying 
within the limits just mentioned, only 
the extra-bright, high-efficiency LEDs 
will give a good light at that low a cur- 
rent. Of course, a cheap LED with 
some shade makes a useful indicator. 
Still, that makes a good starting point. 
If the light is lit, the modem did not 
pick up the line: for that matter, neither 

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73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 17 






Diode bridge, 1 A 200 V bridge, 
276-1161; or four 1N4003s, 276- 
1102 wired as bridge 

12-15 V zener diode, 1N4742 (ia 
V), 276-563; 1N4744 (15 V), 276- 

Green, orange, or yellow high- 
brightness LED, 276-206 (orange); 
276-205 (yellow); 276-215 (green, 
not too bright) 

Binding posts (274-662) or banana jacks 
(274-725) (for plugging in meter rather than 
building in one) 


0-1 mA (22-410) and a 56k 
resistor; or use a 39k resistor plus 
trie 15k that comes with the meter 

Suggested values for other common meters 
to get about 50 V full scale: 

0-500 flA 

0-200 )iA 

0-100 (I A 

100k for 50 VFS 

250k, 50 V FS; 270k, 54 V FS 
(220k + 27k standard values will 
come close to 250k) 

500k, 50 V FS; 560k, 56 V FS 
(470k 4 27k standard values will 
come close to 500k) 

0-50 uA 1 meg for 50 v F5 

Table 1. Fig. 1 parts list. Radio Shack pail 
numbers in all parts lists. 

did the teenagers at the other end of 
the house. 

The LED, zener diode, and resistors 
cost little and take up little space. 
However, it would be nice to know, 
not by default, but by direct indication, 
when the modem or the children have 
picked up the phone. By adding three 




4M7 (4,700,000 ohms) 






D rode bridge, 1 A 200 V, 276-1 1 61 ; or 
four 1 N4003S, 276-1 102 wired as bridge 


1 2-1 5 V zener diode 1 N4742 (1 2 V), 
276-563; 1N4744 (15 V), 276-564 


2N3904 or equiv., minimum bela, H,_ 


2N3904 or equiv., minimum beta, H^ 


Green, orange, or yellow high 
brightness (see Table 1 for P/Ns) 


Red high brightness, 276-086; 276-307 
is cheaper and smaller, but perfectly 

Table 2. Fig. 2 parts list. 

18 73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 

resistors, two transistors, and one more 
LED, you have a direct indication. Fig. 
2 gives the simple circuit for an OFF- 
HOOK indicator. 


Once in a while during a session, the 
screen says that it cannot Find some 
connection. A quick glance at the LED 
indicator from Fig. 2. or the voltmeter. 
tells me what happened. The LED 
went off. and the voltmeter went high, 
meaning that something caused the 
modem to hang up. After some annoy- 
ance and a little while, the screen says 
something to the effect that "... con- 
nection reset by peer ... try connecting 
again." Not sure what that means, ex- 
cept that it disconnected the phone line 
from the computer during a session. 
For that reason, I built just the circuit 
of Fig. 2 and leave that part of the 
Line/Modem Monitor across the line 
all of the time. That frees up the sys- 
tem shown in Photo A to go to work 
with my son. 

How and why 

In either circuit, Fig. 1(b) or Fig. 2, 
as long as the line voltage stays above 
about 18 volts, the zener diode and 
LED 1 will conduct enough current to 
light the LED. Rl, the 27k resistor, 
limits the current in LED1 to a value 
compatible with the telephone line. 
The 4.7 megohm resistor, R2, supplies 
base current to transistor Ql. That 
causes enough current to flow through 
the collector circuit of Ql to keep Q2 
from turning on. When the modem 
picks up the phone and seizes the line. 
the line voltage drops to about nine 
volts: the zener diode quits conduct- 
ing. That turns off both LED1 and Ql. 
That lets base current flow into the 
base of Q2 through R3, the 330k resis- 
tor. When Q2 turns on, il draws current 
through LED2 and R4, the 4700 ohm 

With the values shown, LED2 will 
have a nominal 1.5-2 mA current. 
Again, for best results, that calls for 
one of the high efficiency LEDs. I 
built some of these "off-hook" indica- 
tors before the high-efficiency LEDs 
were readily available. They worked, 

but with these LEDs you see the status 
of the line with less eye strain. 

Voltmeter or LED? 

Depending upon your particular ap- 
plication, you may find a voltmeter a 
quick, practical answer. The LED cir- 
cuit costs little and could be left across 
the line without tying up a multimeter 
that has many other uses. When we get 
to the construction section, we will give 
this some additional consideration. 

What's on my line? 
Or, hearing is knowing 

With some sort of voltage indicator 
on the line, we can tell when the mo- 
dem has picked up or seized die line. 
That does not mean that the modem 
has sent dial tones or that the intercept 
operator isn't telling you to "... please 
hang up and try your call again." 
Those are messages that your com- 
puter cannot readily give to you. Most 
modems let you program them to give 
some sort of sound until they connect. 
Sometimes you can even hear them. 
We have a cure for that with the other 
part of the Line/Modem-Monitor. 

Sound off! 

The simple audio amplifier shown in 
the middle of Fig. 3 can give you a real 
earful. It uses readily available parts 
and draws little current: under eight 
mA without an input signal. Despite 
what the spec sheets say, my VOM 
showed around eight mA, an accept- 
able level to give reasonable life for a 
6-9 volt battery. That can come from a 
handful of AAA cells or from a 9 V 

The LM386 amplifier has more than 
enough gain to amplify the signals that 
you want to hear on a phone line. 

Due to various regulations brought 
about by practical considerations, the 
outgoing signal on the phone lines 
runs just under 0.8 volts rms for sine 
waves. The incoming signal runs 
somewhat lower: around one-tenth of 
that. The outgoing dial tones from the 
telephone measured right at 0.77 V. 
The outgoing dial tones from the com- 
puter measured just about 0.5 volts. 
The dial tones consist of two sine 

10 fiF 



on mf 





Fj#. 3. Lm<? monitor with voltmeter, monitor amplifier, and battery reminder. Meter or 
LED indicators let you know if the line is in use. Amplifier lets you hear beeps, tones 
from your computer, as well as incoming signals from the phone line. That includes an- 
swering beeps from another computer, as well as messages from the operator telling you 
to "... try your call again. " The amplifier will let this system double as half of a speaker 
phone. The section to the left of the first dotted line lets you monitor the line voltage. The 
speaker amplifier sits between the dotted lines. The optional battery reminder is to the 
right of the dotted lines. It uses little power and its gentle wink can remind you that the 
unit is still on. The first section may connect to the internal meter which is shown, or it 
may connect to an external VOM/DMM or the LED OFF-HOOK indicator. Fig. 2. 

tones in various combinations to pro- 
duce the various dial-numbers. The 
communication tones or pulses from 
the modem confuse a voltmeter. They 
are not sine tones. Therefore, the volt- 
meter cannot give accurate readings 
unless it is one of the special voltme- 
ters made for this type of measure- 
ment. However, those readings can 
have a useful significance. 

The communication pulses from my 
computer showed up at about the 200 
mV level on the analog VOM. A more 
accurate measurement could be ob- 
tained by isolating a scope and con- 
necting it to the phone line. Isolation 
is necessary because the phone line 
likes to stay balanced with respect to 
ground. It does not like grounds on 
either side of the line. 

However, since the VOM is more 
commonplace, I suspect that most of 
us find the VOM readings much more 
practical and meaningful. A cheap 
DMM showed a nominal 200 mV at 
the same time the VOM did. 

In simple English 

Simply stated, you now have some 
readings that you can use for compari- 
son if you start going rounds with your 
modem. If you use a VOM to check 
for these low-level AC signals, use the 

OUTPUT function or put a 0.1 pF ca- 
pacitor between the line and the meter 

to keep the 48 volt telephone "battery" 
voltage out of the meter. 

Setting up the LM386 

You may set the gain on the 386 to 
accommodate the level of interest to 
you. By adding the capacitor shown in 
the spec sheets, you have enough gain 
to hear the incoming pulses, the in- 
coming voice announcements, and, of 
course, the outgoing tones and pulses. 
The volume control lets you set a com- 
fortable listening level. You may want 
a higher volume listening to the inter- 
cept operator than when listening to your 
computer talk to another computer. 

DC isolation 

As mentioned earlier, with the phone 
hung up. the phone line has a nominal 
48 volts across it, and the ring voltage 
runs around 75 V (measured) to 90 
volts AC at a nominal 25 Hz. Both of 
these voltages must be kept out of the 
inputs to the 386. Any size capacitor 
will keep the DC out, almost. When a 
blocking capacitor first charges, that 
could give enough of a pulse to dam- 
age the amplifier. Use a small capaci- 
tor and give it a parallel path to use for 

CI, 2 

0.001 11F10OV 


0.01-1 (iF 




470 jiF 10 V 

C6, 7 

1 LiF10V 


0.1 jiF10V 


10k pot, 271 -21 5 (includes 
On/Off switch) 






3M3 (3meg3. or 3.3 megs, or 
3.3Q0.000 ohms) 



Q3, 4 

2N3904 NPN. minimum beta. 
H FE 100 


Red (276-068), green (276-069) 
— coat a bit more than others, 
but have a nice holder 


Low power audio amplifier 

8-pin DIP 

For LM386 


see Table 1 

banana jacks 

see Table 1 ; jacks also used if 
you want to wire the AUX IN 


On/Off; SPsfT275-406 (if you 
do not use the pot/switch 

values for 
other meters 

see Table 1 


2 inch replacement type, 40- 
250 or a 273-092 8 ohm (4-16 
ohms OK). Spkr may be as 
large as you like,- 1 inch to on- 
sale 5x7 inch oval (bigger box 


ABOUT 7 x 4 x 2" for system 
srtown in Photo A. Smaller box 
(270-213) will work if you build 
just part of the system, or the 
unit shown in Photo B. See 
what they have in slock when 
you get there. 

Circuit board 

Perfboard, an easier-ta-wire 
PCB from Far Circuits (see 

Table 3. Fig. 3 parts list. PCB available 
from Far Circuits, 18 N 640 Field Court, 
Dundee IL 60118; (847) 836-9148;]; $5.00 each. 

charging, and thai will protect the ampli- 
fier. Really, it works. The 10k volume 

Continued on page 20 
73 Amateur Radio Today ■ December 2000 19 

Photo C. Printed circuit board used in the second unit, Photo B. Center of board, Dl, 
diode bridge. To the right of that, CI, C2. I used 0.002, as they were handy. Changed 
them to 0.001 as called for in the circuit due to an apparent problem with slower network 
connections. The smaller the caps, the better. To their right, the connections to the vol- 
ume control. This prototype board says 20k, but the actual value is H)k. Amplifier to the 
right of that. Lower right is C5, 470 pF cap going to the speaker. Above that is the battery 
reminder and LED3. LED J lower left. 

More than a Modem Monitor 

continued from page 19 

control combined with the two 0.001 
(iF capacitors in Fig. 3 do just that. 

The 25 Hz ring voltage sees a nomi- 
nal 12 megohms looking at the 0.001 
uJF capacitors. That sends an insignifi- 
cant part of the ring voltage to the in- 
put of the amplifier. If the volume 

Photo D. Interior view of model B (Photo 
B). AUX INPUT upper left of photo. Notch 
in box for input connector with R.lll plug. 
Volume control and ON/OFF switch, top 
center. Notch in circuit board allows it to 
fit in this box, which has a special com- 
partment for a 9 V battery. 
20 73 Amateur Radio Today * December 2000 

control is wide open, and if my arith- 
metic is close, that would be around 
0.2 volts. With the amplifier on, I have 
heard a series of pulses when the 
phone rang. That also meant that I got 
to go on-line later — after the children 
got off the line. 

Another advantage of a small ca- 
pacitor lies in its ability to reject low 
frequencies. The nominal 25 Hz ring 
voltage is much lower than the lowest 
frequency of interest in this applica- 
tion. So, a small capacitor will help re- 
ject both the DC voltage and the 
unwanted low frequencies. 

Battery reminder 

The battery reminder shown on the 
right side of Fig. 3 can save you some 
consternation. You may want to include 
it in other battery-operated projects. It 
draws little current, and the friendly 
wink from the LED can remind you 
that the project is on and draining the 
batteries. In this case, it's a slow drain; 
in other projects, it might be a faster 
fade for forgotten battery-operated 

The circuit consists of a simple 
cross-coupled amplifier, which makes 
it an oscillator, with the LED in series 
with one of the collectors. With the 
values shown, the LED will flicker on 

about once every two to three seconds. 
You may juggle the values about 20- 
30 percent and still have a useful pilot 
light. You would want to juggle or "ad- 
just" the; values to get a faster flicker, a 
slower flicker, or a brighter light, or 
because you do not have the values 

Putting it together 

Photo A shows the finished monitor 
with an internal voltmeter and built-in 
RJ11 jacks. This one includes the am- 
plifier and the battery reminder. You 
could save a bit of work by replacing 
the meter with a pair of jacks and sim- 
ply plugging in your VOM/DMM. You 
could use one of the LED indicators. 
Either method will tell you at a glance 
if someone, or the computer, picked up 
the line. 

Photo B shows a somewhat smaller 
model that includes everything. It has 
the internal voltmeter, the LED indica- 
tors, and the speaker amplifier. The 
modem connections consist of a wire 
with modular plug coming out of the 
unit. That saves a lot of panel space, 
and a lot of milling.,.„^You can get 
around the lack of loop-through fea- 
ture by using a double plug, the type 
that„lets you connect two plugs to the 
same jack. Photo D gives an interior 
view of this system. For those who like 
to make their own boards; Figs. 4-6 
give you the layouts. 

Milling, drilling 

A piece of graph paper taped to the 
front panel may help with the layout. 
Place the parts on the paper and mark 
their positions with pencil. That makes 
it easy to change if needed. The graph 
paper can prove most helpful if you 
use the speaker amplifier. By drilling 
on the grids, you can get nice, uniform 
holes for the sound, without having to 
put an external grill on the box. I fig- 
ured that one out after cutting a large 
hole for the speaker and making a 
speaker grill out of a piece of perf- 
board. It covers up my 'machining' in 
Photo A. 

Although I found the layout shown 
in Photo A convenient, you may make 
it to your liking. I used the extta large 

Phone Lines 

Many of us have seen the notation REN 1 on a telephone device. After 
checking with several authorities, I found a definition for that. It means that 
when the device is "on hook" hung up, it will draw no more than about 1 jxA: 
The telephone device should not exceed that nominal limit. Actually, all of 
the devices connected across that line should not total more than REN 5. At 
least, that is my understanding of REN, Ringer Equivalence Number. 

A public utility may complain if one of the systems shown in Figs, 1, 2, or 
3 is left on the line. They should have little to say if you momentarily con- 
nect a circuit across the line in order to determine the state of that line. When 
trying to tell if a phone is dead or if it is the line, I have hung an analog 
voltmeter (Simpson 260) across the line for a few seconds. 

A private telephone system, such as we have at work, has not complained, 
and the circuit of Fig. 2 has proved most helpful. 

If you remove everything to the left of CI and C2 (the first dotted line) in 
Fig. 3, the rest of the circuit should not give the public utilities cause for 
concern. The audio amplifier will let you monitor the outgoing and incoming 
audio signals. The battery reminder will remind you that the amplifier is on. 

Once the modem picks up the phone line, you could reconnect the first 
part of the circuit and have the advantage of a visual indication of the state of 
the line. 

The voltmeters shown in Fig. 1 draw more current than the public utilities 
like to see leaking out of their system. You could replace the meter with an 
electrometer, an ultra-high impedance meter, but that defeats the purpose of 
the system: It becomes a complex instrument instead of a simple, practical 
method of getting useful, needed information. You could use CMOS circuitry 
and suitable resistors to limit the current to the 4-5 JJ,A range. 

If you remove LED1 and Rl in Fig. 2, you should have an OFF HOOK 
indicator that complies. The impedance presented by the combination of the 
4.7 meg resistor and the transistor figures out somewhere in the area of 1 5 
times the minimum that they, the phone company, like to see. 

In short, this article shows how to make some systems that can help you 
determine the state of the phone line and let you monitor the signals where 
that is permitted. Some of the public utilities may or may not object to your 
using this on their line. A private, in-house system probably will not. You 
will have to determine if it is suitable for your application. 

I have found these systems useful while tracking down problems involv- 
ing dial-up telephone connections, whether for a simple voice connection or 
for a computer/modem connection. 

binding posts because they were avail- 
able. That saved a trip to the store. 
There is nothing critical about how or 
where the parts go in the monitor. 

First, drill pilot holes for everything. 
Then, make the large holes for the 
RJ11, modular jacks, should you 
choose that option. If you use an inter- 
nal meter, make a hole for it next. 
Mount it last. I suggest the large holes 
first as they are the ones most likely to 
give the most trouble. On some occa- 
sions, they have given enough trouble 
that I had to start over: new cover. 

I try to mount as much as possible 

on the cover. That preserves the box 
and simplifies the wiring. The battery 
holders mount on the inside of the box. 
The handle came from a hardware 
store. It is a drawer pull and looks so 
much nicer than the "electronic equip- 
ment" handles. You can get the drawer 
pulls in a variety of decorator colors: 
the chrome and the bright brass go 
well with most decors. 

Photo B, a better way 

The more compact unit shown in 
Photo B has the smaller binding posts. 
The trick with the graph paper worked 


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73 Amateur Radio Today * December 2000 21 

Fig. 4. Foil side 1:1, 

well. It worked especially well since 
my neighbor Walt Olson was kind 
enough to mount the speaker, the 
LEDs, the board, and particularly the 
meter. He likes to spend time with his 
mill. I let him. The meter came from 
an old tape recorder and would have 
strained my "machining" abilities be- 
yond the limit. Walt managed to cram 
10 pounds of parts into the proverbial 
9-pound box. That is why the model in 
Photo B is so much smaller than the 
unit in Photo A. 

Circuit boards 

The model in Photo A uses perf- 
board. However, one of the extra nice 
but inexpensive boards from Far Cir- 
cuits went into the unit in Photo B. 
That makes construction almost a 
snap. As Photo C shows, you can 
populate as much of the board as 
needed for your application. That could 

include the amplifier, the battery re- 
minder, and the OFF-HOOK indicator. 
The only problem that I have had with 
the boards came from missing a solder 
connection or two. When you finish sol- 
dering the board, go over it with a read- 
ing glass and a bright light. looking for 
solder whiskers that extend from one run 
to the next. Also, look for unsoldered 
wires sticking through the board. That's 
what I said, loo, until I had to go back 
over a board to see why it did not work. 

Checkout time 

If your version includes just a meter 
and the modular jacks, plug a suitable 
cord into the phone line and into the 
monitor. The meter should read near full 
scale, about 50 volts. Take a phone off- 
hook: The meter should drop down to 
about 9 volts. The NC and C marks on 
the meters in Photos A and B indicate 
Not Connected and Connected. 

LED indicators 

If you chose the single LED indica- 
tor of Fig. 1(b), it should light when 
you connect the input to the phone 
line. Taking a phone off-hook should 
turn off the LED. If it does not, take a 
voltmeter and check the phone-line 
voltage. It should have dropped to 
around 7-9 volts. Hang up the phone 
and put the voltmeter across the zener 
diode. It should read 12-15 volts de- 
pending upon what you used. If it 
reads around 1/2 to 3/4 volt, discon- 
nect the unit and reverse the connec- 
tions to the zener diode. If the cathode, 
the end with the band, reads minus, re- 
verse the leads from the diode bridge 
to the indicator. 

Make sure that the LED went in the 
right way. Put a clip lead across the ze- 
ner diode and connect a nine volt bat 
tery across the resistor and the LED. 
Even at that low current level, the LED 
will give a visible glow. If you want to 
be real sure, hang two or three nine 
volt batteries in series and try it again. 

Off-Hook Indicator 

If you went for the fulFfeature OFF- 
HOOK indicator. Fig. 2, all of the 
above applies. When LED I turns off, 
LED2 should light You can lest that 
with a single nine- volt battery in place 
of the diode bridge. Watch that you 
put the plus to the top of the circuit, 
minus 10 the transistor emitters. If LED2 
does not light, put a clip lead from the 



LED3< Y~\ I 

N. © . ■ 6* 





Fig. 5. Component side. 

22 73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 




Fig. 6. X-ray view of board. 

collector of Q2 to its emitter. If the 
LED still stays dark, check that the an- 
ode of the LED goes to the battery 

You are most likely to encounter 
these problems with perfboard con- 
struction. With a PC board from Fred, 
if you have a malfunction, it will prob- 
ably come from a diode getting into 
the board the wrong way, or a missed 
solder connection. 

Special (bug) feature 

After my neighbor, Walt, kindly pack- 
aged a unit for me, I gave him a board 
of his own to play with. He said that 
when his computer went on line the 
red LED lit as it should. But, if he 
turned a bright desk light on the green 
LED (LED1), LED2, the red LED. 
turned off. After we verified that the 
LED did indeed respond to incoming 
light, I looked for a cause and a cure. 

The cure came in the form of a resis- 
tor shunted across the green LED 
(LED1). Any value from 10k to 1 meg 
works well. It seems that you can ex- 
cite the elements in an LED by driving 
a current through them the normal 
way, or you can shine a bright light on 
them and they will generate a voltage. 
In fact, some of them even give off 
their characteristic glow. I thought that 
it was just an overactive imagination 
until I asked the right people some 

I checked with George, ex-WA6CJZ, 
to find out just what was happening 

inside the LED. He teaches physical 
chemistry at Arizona State University. 
I work in the same department. George 
had a simple (to him) explanation. 
When a bright light hits the interior of 
the LED, it excites electrons. They 
move to a higher plane, then drop back 
to their original state. In the process 
they give off a photon and generate a 
nominal 1+ volts. They have only a 
minute current available when excited 
by a bright light. An ordinary DMM or 
VOM loaded down the "LED battery" 
and showed practically no output. I 
measured it on a scope and later on an 
electrometer. Under those almost ideal 
conditions, a red LED showed about 
1.3 volts and a white LED showed 
close to 2 volts. The white LED has 
more voltage across it when driving it 
the normal way with a battery and a 
current-limiting resistor: about 3.5 volts. 
So, I would expect to see a bit more 
voltage across it when exciting it with 
a strong light. 

With the output of the LED battery 
going into a high impedance circuit, 
Fig. 2, Rl and R2, it delivered enough 
voltage and current to turn Ql back on 
turning off Q2 and LED2. Mystery 
solved. Annoyance abated. Walt wanted 
to use it as a photocell. I just wanted 
the OFF-HOOK indicator to work as I 
had seen them work for a number of 

One more "special" feature 

I happen to live in a relatively high 
RF field: 0.6 V/M day, 1.2V/M night. 

While working for local radio stations 
I measured that several times. A 5000- 
watt station has its four-tower array 
less than two miles from my home. 
Guess where the main lobe is at night. 
Once in a while it took a filter to get 

Continued on page 24 


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73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 23 

More than a Modem Monitor 

continued from page 23 

them out of the phone and some of my 
short-wave equipment. 

After connecting the newer Line/ 
Modem Monitor to the computer, it 
seemed that at times the network ran 
really slowly. No, I mean slower than 
normal. I lit up the old 486/66 with a 
DOS E-mail program. The screen dis- 
played lots of cryptographs that may 
or may not have meant anything to the 
computer. I pulled the L/MM loose 
and the cryptographs went away. 
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the L/MM cured it, too. A quick check 
showed that the network was running 
at a more normal speed again. 

Some computers/modems have 
greater sensitivity to that type of inter- 
ference. This one seems to be border- 
line. If you think that RF could cause 
you this type of problem, put a small 
RF choke or ferrite beads in the lines 
to the L/MM. To keep the local "lis- 
ten" show host out of the auxiliary input 
of the first L/MM, I put a 7 mH choke (I 
had it on the shelf) in series with the 
high side of the input. A 0.001 uE ca- 
pacitor effectively bypasses it. Accord- 
ing to my arithmetic, anything from 
500 uH and up should give effective 

Speak out 

If you added the speaker amplifier, 
turn it on, and if you used the battery- 
reminder option, watch for the flicker- 
ing LED. A good pretest consists of 
putting a milliammeter in series with 
one of the battery leads, or across the 
ON/OFF switch with the switch in the 
OFF position. It should read around 5- 
10 mA depending upon the battery 
voltage. If it reads nothing or too high, 
look for missed connections or shorts. 

Amplifier testing 

Normally, the amplifier gets its input 
from the phone line. However, since a 
utility amplifier has many additional 
applications, I added an external input, 
the oversize binding posts in Photo A: 
the AUX IN. Before connecting the 
unit to the phone line, you may feed a 
low level signal into the EXTERNAL 
INPUT terminals and listen for the 
sound. Fifty to one hundred mV from a 
radio or a signal generator will drive 
the amplifier to full output. Do not 
expect hi-fi, but rather a sound like 
you would hear from a communications 

If that sounds good, disconnect the 
signal generator, plug the amplifier 
into a phone line, and turn down the 
volume. Pick up a phone on the same 
line and dial a number. You should 
hear the tones loud and clear. You will 
have to mute the telephone mic or 
keep it away from the speaker to pre- 
vent acoustical feedback. The first 

time that you hear that, it may sound 
like music to your ears because it 
means that the box works, however, 
after a while ... 

While listening to the modem, a 
sound level meter indicated that the 
amplifier was delivering an uncom- 
fortably loud 90 dB S PL at a distance 
of one meter. The amplifier still had 
gain to spare. 

Speaker phone 

When you have the telephone mic 
muted, you can use the amplifier fea- 
ture as half of a speaker phone. Call 
one of the telephone on-line services 
and get an earful without having to 
hang on to the telephone receiver. 

Modem, at last 

When everything looks good, con- 
nect the monitor to the phone line and 
to your computer. You will need a 
second cord for the version in Photo 
A, or a two-to-one jack for the unit 
in Photo B. The two jacks are wired in 
parallel, so either one can go to the 
phone line. If you have either the volt- 
meter feature, or one-ofjthe LED indi- 
cators, you should know at a glance 
the state of the phone line. If no one 
else has the line lied up, tell your com- 
puter to connect to a remote site. You 
should hear the dial tones followed by 
the beeps, squeaks, and other assorted 
sounds that accompany a successful 
connect, or silence to indicate a suc- 
cessful disconnect. 

You can get an idea of what is going 
on when you send a fax from your 
computer to another computer or to a 
regular fax machine. In addition to 
what the computer screen says, I get 
useful information regarding the 
progress of the fax transmission from 
the speaker amplifier. It also lets me 
monitor E-mail sessions and "search" 
sessions without having to keep an eye 
on the light or the meter to see why the 
computer cannot find some host. Try it 
a couple of times. I think you will like 

Now, during your on-line sessions, 
you will be able to confirm the state- 
ments on your computer screen by 
glancing at your Line/Modem Monitor 
or by listening to it. 23 

24 73 Amateur Radio Today * December 2000 

Hugh Wells W6WTU 

1411 18th St. 

Manhattan Beach CA 90266-4025 

Inside Digital TV/VCR Tuners 

Part 4: Testing and binary data format. 

The first three parts of this series on digital TV/VCR tuners discussed the two types of 
tuners, along with control and the test system that I used during my study of the digital 
tuner. Specific subjects covered were the synthesizer used to control the local oscillator 
(VCO) within the tuner, a data transmitter used for sending control data to the tuner, 
and a data receiver used for observing the data that has been sent to the tuner. In this 
part of the series we will discuss "how to test" the digital tuner and will describe the 
methods for setting up the binary data format used for controlling a digital tuner. 

The testing of a digital tuner is 
reasonably simple once a 
method has been developed for 
clocking serial data into the tuner. 
With a data transmitter, microcontrol- 
ler, or computer operating as a control- 
ler, it's necessary only to enter band 
select information and frequency, and 
select data in a binary format for the 
tuner to operate. Upon receiving data 
in the correct format, the tuner func- 
tions in a manner like that of the more 
familiar analog varactor TV/VCR 
tuner. Binary formatted data is used to 
control the tuner's frequency synthe- 
sizer. Fig. 1 shows the data sequence 
format from MSD on the left to LSD 
on the right. 

The frequency synthesizer within 
the digital tuner has a main divider 
chain that sets up the frequency ratio 
between the tuner's local oscillator 
(VCO) frequency and the reference 
frequency applied to the reference port 
of the phase detector. When the divide 
ratio number is known, it is then con- 
verted from a decimal number to a bi- 
nary number. In a binary format, the 
ratio number is clocked serially into 
the tuner's register. 

For the TV/VCR digital tuners that I 
have encountered, the main divide ratio 

is determined by dividing the VCO 
frequency by 62.5 kHz. Some digital 
tuner synthesizers have optional step 
frequencies other than 62.5 kHz, but 
when used, the local oscillator (VCO) 
frequency band is altered to some de- 
gree. Gaining control of the optional 
step feature usually requires setting up 
the control data format to clock 34 bits 
of data instead of the normal 18/19 

As an example of the process in- 
volved in finding the data format. 
choose a VCO frequency of 101 MHz. 
as is the case when the tuner is set for 
TV channel 2. Dividing 101 MHz by 
62.5 kHz yields a divide ratio of 1616. 
Converting 1616 into a binary number 
provides the data format that can be 
clocked into the tuner's synthesizer. 
The binary conversion may be done 
using a great many different tech- 
niques, but the easiest is shown in Fig. 
2. Although the use of a calculator will 

speed the conversion process, it isn't 
required when the indicated steps are 
followed. To help keep track of the fi- 
nal number and to verify the accuracy 
of the conversion, it is recommended 
that a worksheet as shown in Fig. 2(b) 
be used as a guide. 

Method for calculation 

Starting with the known information 
such as" the desired oscillator frequency 
and the synthesizer step frequency, de- 
termine the decimal divide ratio that is 
needed to generate the desired oscillator 
frequency. ._ 

When the divider ratio is known, 
subtract the largest binary number 
from it. In the example, the divide ra- 
tio is 1616 and the largest binary num- 
ber that can be subtracted from it is 
1024. Subtracting 1024 from 1616 
leaves a remainder of 592. A binary 
"I" is assigned to the location in the 






















Band Selectors 

Frequency Select Data in Binary Format 

Fig- 1. Data format required for controlling a digital TV/VCR tuner. 

73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 25 


Desired oscillator (VCO) frequency = 101 MHz 

Synthesizer step frequency = 62.5 kHz 


Synthesizer divide ratio 

Binary number to be clocked into the tuner's register 


N = divider ratio = OSC freq/step freq = 101 MHz/0.0625 = 1616 








1616- 1024 = 592 

592-512 = 80 

80 < 256 

80 < 128 

80-64= 16 


16-16 = 




































Fig. 2. Shows the required input information and the steps involved in converting a decimal number to a binary number, (a) Shows 
the steps used to find and convert from a decimal number to a binary number, (b) Shows how the binary number is charted in the 
desired format for clocking data into the digital tuners register. 

chart under the numher 1024. A bi- 
nary "1" is assigned each time a num- 
ber can be subtracted from the 
remainder. A binary "0" is assigned in 
the location when a subtraction cannot 

be performed. In the case of the re- 
mainder "80" being smaller than 
"256." there is no subtraction so a bi- 
nary "0" is assigned under the 256. 
Also in the example, 16 is the last 



> o < co 

o > u o t?< 

CO IT) ^ _, < ~Z_ 




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CtOCK •- 




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+12V 100 mA 

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Fig. 3. Test setup and power for testing and/or using a 3-wire digital tuner. 
26 73 Amateur Radio Today ■ December 2000 

number where a subtraction takes 
place which allows the assignment of 
"0" to all of the other binary locations. 

So that the process of converting 
from a decimal number to a binary 
number is clear, a second example is 
provided in the chart for a VCO fre- 
quency of 448 MHz. In -this case, a 
synthesizer divide ratio of 7168 will be 
required. As the subtraction process 
occurs, a binary "1" is placed in the 
columns headed up by 4096, 2048, and 
1024. All remaining columns contain a 
binary "0". - 

In part five of this series I'll provide 
a BASIC program that will calculate 
the binary number for any tuner "re- 
ceiver" frequency, along with the local 
oscillator frequency that is selected. 

Test setup 

Fig. 3 shows the connections to the 
digital tuner, data transmitter, data re- 
ceiver, and all of the power supply 
voltages. A voltage table is provided 
that may be used as a guide as to the 
typical current that the user should 
supply for operating all of the pieces 
contained in the test system. 

Even though the figure is pretty 
clear as to how things are connected, a 
few words may help clear up any ques- 
tions that might remain. All like termi- 
nal functions are tied together on all 
items. As an example, the data termi- 
nals on the tuner, data transmitter, and 
data receiver are connected together. 
The wires should be of short length 
and insulated, but shielding is not re- 
quired. In other words, excess wire 
length should be avoided, but the units 
do not have to be crowded. 

To gain a perspective on the physical 
layout of a digital tuner, refer to Fig 4. 
The two main areas of interest are the 
mixer/oscillator section, and the syn- 
thesizer section. The synthesizer sec- 
tion is readily identified because there 
will be a crystal mounted close by the 
synthesizer IC. In most tuners, the 
mixer/oscillator IC will be a surface 
mounted device soldered onto the cir- 
cuit side of the circuit board (bottom 
side). Knowing the physical layout of 
the tuner becomes important during 
the test and checkout of the tuner. 

Testing the tuner 

All of the required voltages must be 
applied to the tuner so that it will be 
active and ready to operate. The input 
data is entered into the tuner by setting 
the switches on the transmitter and 
pressing the "start" switch. The tuner 
resets for the next data entry whenever 
the ENABLE line goes HIGH. Data 
entered previously into the tuner is re- 
tained by the tuner as long as power is 
applied and the ENABLE line remains 

Band and frequency select data can 
be sent to the tuner at any time after 
power is applied. But during the initial 
stages of testing, the data set position 
relative to how the synthesizer data 
register "sees" the data can be an un- 
known and requires some initial ex- 
perimentation. Shifting the data bank 
back and forth a bit or two will usually 
suffice, but finding the MSD and or 
LSD bit location within the tuner's 
register may be a little elusive. 

One technique that Fve used that ap- 
pears to work with most tuners, par- 
ticularly those having a synthesizer 
chip with known band control pinouts 










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Synthesizer IC Types & Pins 




TD6359 P/N 

TD 6380 P/N 

TD 6380 Z 

TD 6381 P/N 

TD 6381 Z 

TD 6382 P/N 

TD 6382 Z 

Pin 15 

Pin 20 

Pin 20 

Pin 16 

Pin 20 

Pin 16 

Pin 20 

Pin 16 

Fig. 5. Synthesizer phase lock indicator. 
LED transistor driver is connected to the 
lock detector's output pin. 

(one of four), is to measure the voltage 
on the selected pin. In the absence of 
known pinouts, tracing the tuner's 
band control transistor base circuits 
back to the synthesizer IC provides a 
level of confidence. A strong magnify- 
ing glass and an ohmmeter are usually 
required during the tracing process. 

Once the band control pins have 
been identified, and with the data 
transmitter connected, enter only the 
"band" bits one at a time and attempt 
to determine with a voltmeter the band 
control terminal voltage that responds 
to a particular band bit sent by the data 
transmitter. The voltage on the band 
control pin will shift from an unselected 
voltage level of 12 V downward to a 
value below 7 V upon selection. 

When the four band bits (of which 
only two or three are used) have been 
"mapped'' on the data transmitter's 
switches, the first band bit (whether a 
"0" or a "1") to be clocked into the 
tuner is the MSD band bit, with the re- 
maining three bits to follow. Because 
the band select bits are "pass-through," 
only one of four bits is selected for 
each of the tuner's bands. 

The first frequency data bit (MSD) 
will be the first data bit that follows the 
fourth band bit. The LSD data bit will 
be the last bit to be clocked into the 
synthesizer. An illustration of the band 
and data bit format that is expected by 
the digital tuner was shown in Fig. 1. 

A more random method for deter- 
mining the data set position for the 
data transmitter's switches is to find 
the lowest LSD 
switch setting that 
affects the synthe- 
sizer's divide ra- 
tio. Counting the 
switches upward 

to 19 will identify the MSD position. 
With a step frequency of 62.5 kHz, the 
lowest LSD switch will shift the oscil- 
lator frequency by 62.5 kHz. The next 
lower switch will have no affect on the 
divide ratio. 

One of the most helpful hints that I 
can provide is to suggest monitoring 
the synthesizer's "lock" feature. Enter- 
ing data into the synthesizer and not 
knowing whether or not it's respond- 
ing is quite unnerving at times. Most 
digital tuner synthesizer IC's have a 
dedicated pin that goes to a logic LOW 
when the system locks. Building up an 
LED driver circuit as shown in Fig. 5 
will provide visualization of what the 
synthesizer is doing. Connecting the 
LED driver, as shown, requires that a 
wire be soldered to the appropriate IC 
pin (IC pins are indicated for specific 
chips). This step should be avoided if 
you lack skill in soldering in cramped 
spaces. Excessive heat must be avoided 
to prevent damage to the synthesizer 

Of course, monitoring the local os- 
cillator frequency with a frequency 
counter, when one is available, will 
provide direct feedback as to what the 
synthesizer is doing as well as indicate 

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Fig. 6. Coupling signal energy from the tuner's VCO into a fre- 
quency counter, (a) Shows the approximate placement of the 
pickup coil, (b) Shows details of a suitable counter sampling probe. 
2T insulated wire; coil diam. about 1/4"; coax type optional, RG- 
174, RG-5 8 work well. 

28 73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 


VCO | 




:>Y 1 

■N L N H 

Fig. 7. VCO lock range as a function of the divide ratio of the 
main synthesizer divider. Dotted ends indicate ambiguity of the 
lock range per individual tuner. 
















96 160 176 384 385 863 

MHz MHz MHz MHz MHz MHz 


Fig. 8. Typical VCO tuning curve showing frequency vs. lock range. 

the frequency of VCO operation. Cou- 
pling is provided to the counter 
through a small pickup loop that is 
placed adjacent to the oscillator coils 
within the tuner. Fig. 6 shows the de- 
tails of the pickup loop and typical 
placement within the tuner. A tight 
coupling between the coupling loop 
and the oscillator coil is usually 
needed to achieve a "good" count. 

Tuner response 

One of the problems that I encoun- 
tered during the initial test period was 
determining if and how the tuner might 
be responding. The use of the counter 
and "lock" indicator were of great as- 
sistance to me. Perhaps not knowing the 
band edges was the biggest deterrent. 

To share my findings regarding the 
band limits and VCO lock capability, 
I've developed two charts shown in 
Figs. 7 and 8. The first chart is an ex- 
panded section showing the VCO tun- 
ing ramp from the lowest to the highest 
divide ratio for a given band. The VCO 
in various tuners has been set up to 
"lock" within the frequency require- 
ments of the TV channels. But in some 
cases, the VCO will lock at a band of 
frequencies wider than the TV require- 
ments, as indicated by the dotted lines 
representing the lock ambiguity. Dur- 
ing initial testing, finding the near cen- 
ter frequency in each band provides 
the best opportunity of getting a "lock." 
Locating the lowest and highest fre- 
quency for each band is done by chang- 
ing the divide ratio incrementally until 
the synthesizer drops out of lock. 

Fig. 8 shows the typical VCO tuning 
curve and band by frequency. Some 
tuners exhibit a band gap between seg- 
ments and others do not, which is a 
function of the lock ambiguity. The 
frequencies shown in the chart are the 
typical band limits that may be used 
for finding the near band center "lock" 
frequency during initial testing. 

What's next 

Parts five, six, and seven of this se- 
ries on TV/VCR digital tuners will fol- 
low. Part five will provide a BASIC 
program that will allow the conversion 
of decimal frequency numbers to bi- 
nary control numbers as required for 
tuner synthesizer control. Parts six and 
seven will wrap up the digital tuner 
discussion with a procedure for mak- 
ing printed circuit boards. 11 




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73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 29 

Carl MarkleJr. K8IHQ 
11 570 Taylor Wells Rd. 
Clairdon OH 44024-8910 

Skinflint Lightning Arrestors 

Great protection on the cheap. 

Who needs coax high voltage impulse (EMP) protection? You can bet you do, if you 
expect to keep that expensive low loss coax cable usable after a harmful electrical 
event. And this is not to mention what would happen to those super-sensitive field 
effect transistors (FETs) in the front ends of the new solid state transceivers. 

It is good common practice to pro- 
vide outer shield coax grounding at 
the base of a tower so that if a near 
miss lightning strike occurs, proper 
safety precautions are observed. How- 
ever, there is the problem of the 2,000 
volt breakdown between the inner con- 
ductor and shield of the coax cable. By 
the time the breakdown occurs, anv 

equipment left connected to it in the 
ham shack would have suffered sub- 
stantial degrading, if not outright de- 
struction. It is a costly problem for 
everyone concerned. 

The first thing to be considered is 
the basic three classes of coax cable. 
The large 4,000 volt breakdown types, 
such as RG-213, RG-8, RG-17, and so 






1/16" HOLE 



1/2" COPPER 

Fig. 1. Gas discharge coax lightning arrestor. Notes: (I) Ensure that gas devices do not 
short center conductor to shell. A piece of Mylar can be inserted. (2) Use clear silicone 
caulk around housing to make the moistureproof connection. (3) Two 350 V gas dis- 
charge spark gaps (700 V breakdown). Ensure centered, or use apiece of Mylar drafting 
material as an insulator (1 jjS 700 V response). (4) Specifications — 20, 000 A surge cur- 
rent, 10'° ohm. insulation resistance, 1 pF capacitance, 1 mS response (100 V/fiS). 
30 73 Amateur Radio Today * December 2000 

on, are relatively expensive in today's 
marketplace. Then there are the smaller 
cables used by hams who anticipate 
running output powers, of 600 watts 
(continuous) or less. Quite a cost sav- 
ings can be realized with such cable, 
along with the very flexible nature of 
the product. These cables are the 1000 
volt breakdown types such as RG-58, 
RG-59, RG-8X, and so- -forth. Then 
there js the third type, such as RG-6, 
RG-174, special Teflon low loss, and so 
on. These types have breakdown voltage 
specifications of, typically, 700 volts 
and in some cases 200 volts. Obviously, 
these are to be used in the UHF/VHF 
ranges such as 145 MHz and 432 MHz; 
however, high S WR in the range of 3:1 
can produce breakdown very easily in 
these types. 

As can be seen, the buildup of EMP 
(electromagnetic pulse) between the 
inter and outer shield of coax can hap- 
pen in just microseconds even with a 
near miss of lightning. If a strike does 
occur, it is probable that the tower will 
be the arrestor, and maybe you will not 
lose the rotor and rotor cable. Arrest- 
ing of the rotor cable will occur at 
earth ground. Take the rotor cable and 
ensure that it is taped securely to the 
tower leg before descending down to 








Fig. 2. Gas and gap assembly (full protec- 
tion). Notes: (1) Gas discharge to protect 
sensitive FET devices in today 's transceiv- 
ers (IGFET dual gate). 700 VDC and 
overclamping, 10,000 amp 1 uS response. 
Clamping of static voltage buildup on an- 
tenna also. (2) Impulse voltages exceeding 
approximately 2000 VDC. Spark gap de- 
vice 0.25" gap, hard clamp for near-miss 
lightning strike protection, for coax cable 
RG-213, RG-8, RG-17, etc. (3) Most trans- 
ceivers have a 56 ohm 2 watt resistor 
across the SO-239 antenna connector to 
bleed off static voltage buildups. 

the earth ground. This usually will 
provide your best chance of surviving 
a near miss. 

The coax cable is yet another prob- 
lem. The near miss lighting strike will 
hit the antenna and run down the coax 
via the shield until it finds a low resis- 
tance path to earth ground. Well, 
maybe you will lose fifty feet or so of 
coax if you have a good earth ground 
at the base of the tower. 

The worst case is a near miss which 
does not run to earth ground but in- 
stead stays on the center conductor of 
the coax. This is a real problem, since 
it will mess up your nice expensive 
solid state equipment, should it be at- 
tached, and possibly burn "punch 
through" holes between the inner con- 
ductor and the shield of the coax, 
through the insulation material. Usu- 
ally this will happen in several places 
along the coax until it reaches earth 
ground level and arrests itself. 

Now, you are saying OK, what do I 
do to provide inexpensive protection 
from this problem? There are many 
home-made remedies, including the 
shorting of coax at the station when 
not in use. 

However, I have the feeling that if 
any of nature's fury is ever headed my 
way, it can be kept outside at the base 
of the tower and I will sustain mini- 
mum damage. It is always a good rule 
of thumb to keep the tower at least 50 
feet away from any structure, and well 
grounded to earth. A good system of 
center conductor protection for coax 
cable is going to be described here. 

The first thing to consider is how fast 
the response is to EMP. Any device 

responding after about five microsec- 
onds is probably too late. I like the 
numbers one microsecond and 700 
volts. If a device can clamp off at those 
parameters, it is likely that the cable 
will survive and it is probable that the 
transceiver FET will do OK, just in 
case you forgot to disconnect from the 
antenna system. 

The following information is pro- 
vided so that you can home-brew 
your own inexpensive devices with 



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73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 31 

Photo A. Gas discharge EMP arresior parts laid out for assembly. 

components available from the 
sources given. 

Another important thing to note is 
the incoming 120 VAC power input 
source. This electrical service requires 
that neutral and ground be connected 
to earth ground at the circuit breaker 
box that powers your residence. This 
National Electrical code requirement 
provides a nice earth ground for your 
ham shack equipment unless discon- 
nected. In most cases, we just do not 
electrically disconnect at the ham 
shack when we finish operating. The 
coax shield is now grounded via the 
residence earth ground and the tower- 
base ground, which is usually a con- 
siderable distance apart. This sets up a 
naturally had situation for ham equip- 
ment destruction. I recommend some 
type of coax disconnect system in the 
shack which can be quickly engaged. 
A relay which disconnects the coax 
from equipment when not in use can 
be devised. Now, at least you have a 
chance of surviving. In any case, these 
are the three rules I recommend to 
provide some degree of protection. 






UHF coax T 


Hosfelt #552A 




Mouse f 


0-5" copper 
pipe coupling 

SO. 15 



0.5" copper 
pipe 1 " long 




0-5" copper 
pipe cap 





Table 1, Gas discharge arresior parts list. 
32 73 Amateur Radio Today * December 2000 

Make your ham shack an island 
when not in use! 

My three rules for survival are: 

1. Ground the coax shield at the base 
of the tower at least 50 feet from entry 
to the shack and disconnect when not 
in use. 

2. Adhere to National Electrical 
Code (NEMAL) rules in residential 
homes regarding the AC power source. 
Both neutral and buss ground returns 
go to the circuit breaker box and then 
directly to the earth ground rod at the 
box. Disconnect AC power when not 
in use. 

3. Use a gas discharge device to pro- 
vide 700 volts and less than one micro- 
second clamping and breakdown 
between the center conductor and 
shield of the coax cable at base of 
tower and RF earth ground. 

Now, let's look at a little history on 
the "gas discharge" device, which is 
sometimes referred to as a "comm- 
gap" device. They are available in four 
or five different breakdown voltages, 
and all respond in the one microsecond 
range. They are similar to a neon lamp 
bulb. There are at least three manufac- 
turers of these devices. One of these 
manufacturers retails the devices via 
Mouscr Electronics under a catalog 
number of #444-GT-350-L; this is a 
Siemens stock number of B1A350 
with a cost of $2.80 each. Sometimes 
you can find these devices at flea mar- 
kets for $1.00 each if you are lucky. 
This source comes from the OEM 
folks who have production over-runs 
that filter into the flea market arena. 

Since we now have SO-239 and 
PL-259 UHF-type coax connectors 

that have Teflon center insulators, this 
is what most of us use now-a-days. 
Some folks still use old and new military 
types of the N connector UG-21 and the 
like, which can be made to work, but 
with considerably more effort involved. 

Now let us get down to making a 
couple of these devices. A small, one- 
inch length of one-half-inch copper 
plumbing water pipe is used to house 
the comm-gap devices. This piece of 
pipe is soldered into a one-half-inch 
copper coupling which will fit over the 
UHF coax T connector. Now fit the 
one-half-inch copper pipe end cap over 
the pipe and solder in place. Drill a 
small, one-sixteenth-inch hole into the 
center of the cap so that the wire lead 
of the comm-gap will pass through. 
This completes the housing, and we 
can move on to the attachment. 

Twist together one lead of each 
comm-gap device to provide a good 
mechanical coupling, and solder. Clip 
the excess leads and prepare one lead 
of the assembly for insertion into the 
female center pin of the T connector. 
Usually, a needle-nose pliers is all that 
is needed to make a small loop which 
fits tightly into the -Gjjrrnector. Solder 
this connection as quickly as possible 
to minimize the heat to the center pin 
of tire connector. 

Now, push the copper pipe assembly 
over the pair of comm-gap devices, 
taking the remaining lead- -through the 
cap hole until the assembly is in place. 
Bend the lead and trim and solder to 
the copper cap end. Take an ohmmeter 
and check continuity between the cen- 
ter and outside case of the coax T con- 
nector. No shorts should exist. A little 
silicone RTV (clear caulk) can be used 
to provide a seal. 

Let's check for continuity between 
the T connector outside case and the 





UHF SO-239 
coax receptacle 



0.5" copper pipe 



UHF T coax 

connector, or a 

gas discharge 





Table 2. Spark gap parts list. 


rssu-Bous ^ 

Fig. 3. Tower plate installation. 

copper end cap. Continuity must exist. 
When attaching to the associated SO- 
239 connector on the antenna or lower 
base, ensure that the cap is facing up 
and the coax cable is coming out from 
the sides. This ensures that moisture 
will not be able to seep inside of the 
attestor housing. You have just made a 
700 volt one microsecond EMP de- 
vice, for under $8.50, which should 
provide adequate protection. 

A quick look in your favorite ham 
publication will make you aware of the 
cost of commercial versions in the $50 
range. These devices have no fre- 
quency or RF power limitations. The 
usable SWR range is about 7:1. which 
is well beyond any usable antenna sys- 
tem specification. If you arc over 3:1, 
you just do not have a usable system! 

Spark gap lightning arrestor 

Now thai we have the EMP protection 




24 - x12'x3'4-CDXply, I 
coated with shellac and 
spray enamel paint 


1/4" X1/2*LSS sheet 
metal screws 


1-1/4" x2' SSU bolts 


Gas discharge spark gaps 


Ground rod clamps 


8' ground rod 


m AWG lug and bolt 


1'#6 AWG solid copper 



3/16" thick a"x8" 
aluminum plate 

Table 3. Tower plate parts list. 

between the center conductor and 
shield of the coax taken care of, it is 
lime to consider the direct lightning 
strike possibility. This means cata- 
strophic breakdown and failure of gas 
discharge and coax cable. We need to 
ensure that most of the strike will be 
conducted directly to the earth ground 
system. Remember, we want the shortest 
and straightest path to earth ground. 

The spark gap will ensure that volt- 
ages exceeding 2,000 volts for a period 
beyond the one millisecond time frame 
will have a direct path to earth ground. 
This can be done with a one-quarter- 
inch air gap between the shield and 
center conductor. Here's how I do this 
at this QTH. 

See the Fig. 4 (b) side view for the 
assembly details. This is done simply 
by using a good SO-239 coax recep- 
tacle, UHF-type, with the Teflon cen- 
ter insulator and the nickel or silver 
plated shell. Purchase a one-half-inch 
copper pipe cap from the local hard- 
ware store. Attach it to the back of this 
SO-239 with clear 100% silicone 
caulk. Ensure that there is continuity 
between the copper cap and SO-239 
shell. Allow time for drying, and then 
mount to an aluminum ground plate as 

Photo B. Final assembly — gas discharge 
EMP anestor and spark gap unit. 

At this QTH, we use a 24- x 12-inch 
0.75-inch-thick CDX plywood piece 
which has a couple of coats of shellac 
and a couple of coats of enamel paint 
to provide a tower base mounting sys- 
tem. I use a small piece of three-six- 
teenths-inch-thick aluminum stock to 
mount all the coax connections on, and 
then one-quarter-inch stainless sheet 
metal screws in the four corners to 
mount to the plywood base. This as- 
sembly is then mounted to the two 
tower legs with U-bolts (stainless are 
-good!) to provide a really nice looking 
transition point. 

On this aluminum plate, mount a 
copper lug with AWG~~#6 or better 
solid copper wire to a leg of the lower. 
I always use anti-oxide grease (copper 







11 HA NG 



I %% HANG 









(540) 286-0176 

LAUREL, MD. 20713 
$49.95 EI HANG 


73 Amateur Radio Today ■ December 2000 33 

to aluminum) when matching these 
two metals. The grease is available at 
any electrical supply house. You could 
use aluminum wire and avoid this 

Then purchase an electrical NEC- 
approved ground rod and two ground 
clamps to make the connection be- 
tween the tower leg and the ground 
rod. Again, make sure to use AWG #6 
or larger solid copper wire. Also, if the 
tower is not aluminum, ensure wire 
connects to both of the ground clamps. 

Now you have a good, safe RF 
ground for your radio station. This is 
NOT to be connected to the electrical 
grid power system. Keep electrical 
power and RF grounds separate if AC 
power neutral and ground returns are 
tied together. Current traveling on the 
return neutral may like your RF 
ground better than its own. and real 
trouble begins. 

For the experts, yes, I am aware of 
the National Electrical Code and its 
safety issues. A ground rod in the earth 
is considered to be an acceptable and 
required safety ground by the NEC. 


Fun, easy to build projects for 

publication in 73. 

For more info, write to: 

Joyce Sawtelle, 

73 Amateur Radio Today, 

70 Hancock Road 

Peterbor ough NH 03458. 









1/2" COPPER 

- .□ A 

1/16" HOLE 

; :■■-■.. ■ i ■ 





I. ' nl ■J' J! '■,_] 









Fig. 4. (a) Spark gap lightning arrestor assembly, (b) Construction details. Notes: (1) 
SO-239 is silver or nickel plate. (2) Copper plumbing 1/2 " cap. Small 1/16" vent hole in 
bottom side (face ground). (3) Physical earth grounding. 

The use of one for AC power and three 
for antennas is an example of the in- 
consistencies. It is recommended that 
an AC switch and relays be used to dis- 
connect and isolate your power source 
when the station is not in use. Unplug 
your station! 

It is a good idea to put a large MOV 
device across the 120 VAC source to 
ensure that the ills of the power grid do 
not eat your expensive electronics 
when you are using your station. 

Use common sense! 

Ham Mali 

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Radio Depot, Suite 176, 5963 Corson Ave., So. Seattle, WA 98108 
Phone (206) 763-2936 Fax (206) 763-4172 

Now, you have gas discharge de- 
vices for static voltage buildup prob- 
lems and near miss lightning strikes, 
and a spark gap device for the really 
wild things that nature can send your 
way. The required safety and earth 
ground requirements, have been ■ met 
with the tower base aluminum plate as- 
sembly, and we are now interested in 
how the coax cables are to attach to all 
of this. 

Well, the UHF T connector takes 
care of all of that. Just cut the coax 
cable and attach a UHF-type PL-259 
male plug to each end, and attach to 
the two female ends of the T connec- 
tor. Please use a good grade of PVC 
electrical tape to weatherproof the PL- 
259s. You are. now both safe and effi- 
cient. Play it safe! 



958 N. Main St. 

Mansfield TX 76063 

1 (800) 346-6873 

(Fax) 1(817) 483-6899 



270 Sunset Blvd. 

Steubenville OH 43952-1 158 

1 (800) 524-5414 

(Fax) 1 (800) 524-5414 M 

34 73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 

Bill Hendrey KC6JGS, ex-K7KST 
J76048, A3-109 
P.O. Box 5002 
Calipatria CA 92233 

Angel Voices 

This was no ordinary beam tuning experience. 

June in Seattle, Washington, is normally the beginning of summer, and the days are 
usually sunny and warm. It was I960, and my ham buddy Jerry W7IDI and I were 
getting our plans ready so that we could tune Jerry's two meter beam antenna that he 
had purchased at a flea market. The beam had already been mounted at the top of 
Jerry's fifty-foot self-supporting tower. The beam used a "gamma match" for loading. 

Two hams were required to prop- 
erly tune the antenna, one at the 
top of the tower and one on the 
ground adjusting the "rig." It was de- 
cided that Jerry would stay on the 
ground, since his left leg was still heal- 
ing from an earlier auto accident. I 
would be at the top of the tower adjust- 
ing the gamma match, which had two 
adjustments — one was a shorting bar, 
and the other a variable condenser. 

The only tools that I would need 
would be a crescent wrench, and a flat- 
bladed screwdriver. The tuning con- 
denser had a lock nut and sp lined 
housing over the rotating shaft, which 
kept the shaft from turning when 
adjustments were not required. 

We had tried for some time to obtain 
a climber's belt to support the one who 
would be up on the tower. However, 
we had no luck in finding anyone who 
was willing to loan us theirs. It was de- 
cided to go to the local hardware store 
and purchase a seven-foot length of 
5/8-inch hemp rope to replace the 
climber's belt. 

When the day arrived, Jerry showed 
up at the front door of my parents' home 
and picked me up. We drove the five 
miles to Burien, where the hardware 

store was located, and purchased the 
required hemp rope. 

When we arrived at Jerry's house, 
we started setting everything up. I took 
a card table outside to the foot of the 
tower and set it up about eight feet 
away from the base, while Jerry 
brought the transmitter. I returned to 
the house to get the receiver. Jerry re- 
turned to get the one-hundred-foot ex- 
tension cord, and started paying it out 
from the house. When he was finished 

''Bill, hold on to the tower 
and check your rope!" 

putting out the extension cord, he 
returned and got the test equipment. 

The two meter beam with its at- 
tached coax had been set in place pre- 
viously, waiting for the day that we 
could tune the antenna. 

Jerry had the transmitter, receiver and 
SWR bridge hooked to the TR switch 
(a manually operated transmit-receive 
switch was used in those days), and a 
ground attached to the base of the tower, 
and all of the equipment on the card 
table to prevent electrical shock hazards. 
It looked like everything was ready to go. 

The last thing that we did was to ex- 
amine the rope, because I would be 
leaning out from the tower with that 
rope around my waistband that rope 
had to support my weight. The rope 
was in perfect condition. Folding it 
and pulling the loop end through my 
belt. I got a screwdriver and an eight- 
inch insulated-handle crescent wrench 
from Jerry. Then I started climbing up 
the fifty-foot tower. 

When I had climbed to within two 
feet of the top. I looped my left arm 
through the tower and pulled the rope 
off of my belt with my right hand. 
Carefully, I pujled the rope until I was 
able to get a hold of the end of it, and 
feed it through one side of the triangle- 
shaped tower, across and out the other 
side, so I could hold the end in my left 
hand. Twisting my body to the left, I 
reached around with my right hand 
and retrieved the free end of the rope 
and pulled it around my body. Then it 
was on to my left hand, where I care- 
fully tied a double square knot, square 
knot on top of square knot, and placed 
the double knot on one of the angled 

The vertical supports of the tower 
were made of large angle iron, with 
smaller angle iron for the horizontal 
73 Amateur Radio Today ' December 2000 35 

support, all of which were heavily gal- 
vanized, so that the edges of all of the 
angle iron were soft and smooth. Had 
there been sharp edges on the angle, I 
would have had to put something be- 
tween the rope and the tower where 
they touched. 

After I tied the knot and set the rope 
across my back, I tested the rope as I 
carefully leaned out from the tower 
while holding on to the tower with 
my hands. I bounced my body several 
times to make sure that the knot was 
securely fastened before I let go of the 
tower and stood securely in place. I 
then climbed up two more feet so that 
the rope would be around my waist 
just above my belt, and I was able to 
reach up with the wrench and loosen 
from its splined shaft housing the nut 
which held the Rotor shaft firmly in 
place. I yelled down to Jerry to go 
ahead and tune up. 

Plugging in the equipment, and 
picking out a clear frequency on his re- 
ceiver, Jerry fired up his transmitter 
into the antenna, and checked the SWR. 
It was way off. Next, Jerry asked over 
his mike if the frequency was clear, 
and, hearing nothing, gave his call and 
explained that we would be testing on 
this frequency for the next half hour. 
Next, Jerry yelled up to me, "Mesh the 
plates, Bill." 

Inserting the screwdriver into the 
slotted end of the rotor shaft, I turned 
the rotor shaft until the rotor plates 
were fully meshed with the stator 
plates. I let Jerry know that all was ready, 
and he retuned his rig and took the read- 
ing. "Give it a small tweak," Jerry 

I inserted the screwdriver and turned 
the rotor shaft slightly. Jerry retuned 
his rig again and said, "Try it again. 
Bill." I inserted the screwdriver into 
the slot and turned it a little more. 
"That's looking a lot better," Jerry 
said. "Turn it some more." Again I re- 
peated the process as before, and Jerry 
took his reading. Back and forth we 
went, trying to find the best setting for 
the lowest possible SWR reading. 

As I reached up to insert the screw- 
driver into the slot of the rotor again, I 
heard a voice call out to me. It was 
about three feet above me, and about 
36 73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 

six feet in front of me. It called out, 
"Bill, hold on to the tower, and check 
your rope." 

Stunned, I looked up into the clear 
blue sky between the elements and the 
boom of the beam, in the direction of 
the voice that called out to me, but 
there was no one there. I felt a prickly 
feeling all over my body. "Jerry," I 
called, "did you just call me?" 

Jerry said, "No." 

"Well, someone just called out to me 
and it sounded like it was coming from 
the sky in front of me." 

Jerry said, "You're just hearing 
things, Bill — let's finish this up. 
Make that adjustment for me." 

Again I reached up and turned the 
rotor shaft a small tweak, when the 
voice called out to me again — only 
this time it was more insistent, "BILL, 
CHECK YOUR ROPE," it said. 

"Did you hear it that time, Jerry?" I 
called out. 

"What did it tell you this time, Bill?" 
Jerry asked. 

"It told me to hold on to the tower 
and check my rope." 

"What did I tell you before, Bill? 
Now let's finish this project." 

Leaning out on the rope, away from 
the tower, I felt very secure. The rope 
was firm, and at the angle I was lean- 
ing at, it even dug into my flesh a bit 
where it went around my waist just 
above my belt. I inserted the screw- 
driver into the shaft on the tuning con- 
denser and gave it another small tweak. 
"OK, Jerry," I yelled. Jerry made some 
more adjustments and decided that I 
needed to climb up higher and readjust 
the shorting bar by moving it two 
inches farther out. 

Before I could start to climb higher 
up on the tower, the voice sounded very 
angry and gruff this time: "B-I-L-LH! 

"Jerry, did you hear it that time? It 
sounds very angry." I said. 

"I give up, Bill, I guess this won't 
stop until you look at your rope and 
see that nothing is wrong with it, and 
we can finish this up," Jerry said. 

Stepping back down two feet from 
the top of the tower, I looped my left 

arm through the tower as I had before, 
and carefully pulled the rope around 
with my right hand, feeding it through 
my clenched left hand that was stick- 
ing out of the inside of the tower. 
When I got to the point that was across 
my waist, I stopped. 

What I saw gave me a sudden chill. 
The point at which the rope lay across 
my waist behind me, that had sup- 
ported all of my weight, was cut all the 
way through as if a scalpel had cut it. 
The cut was clean and even, with no 
raggedy ends or strands sticking out. 
Just one, single, hair-thin piece of hemp 
held the two ends from separating 

"Jerry, you've got to see this rope 
right now," I said. 

Standing on the ground, Jerry yelled 
up to me to climb down and show him 
what the matter was with the rope. 
Very carefully, I folded the ends of the 
rope so that I could keep the ends in 
the same position, without separating 
the little strand of hemp. I placed the 
rope in my mouth and held it with my 
teeth. I untied the rope and carefully 
placed the rest of it over my right 
shoulder before startiiig-back down the 
tower. I wanted the free ends to be be- 
hind me where I could not step on 
them as I descended from the tower. 

When I reached the ground, Jerry 
was there waiting for me. I carefully 
took the rope out of my mouth and 
handed- it to him. Jerry stood there for 
a moment with his mouth hanging 

Holding the free ends of the rope to- 
gether in his right hand, about three 
inches below the cut, Jerry asked me, 
"How did you do this, Bill? Turn 
around and let me see your back." 

I turned slowly around and Jerry 
eyed me very carefully. As I turned, I 
lifted my shirt so that he could see 
where the rope had rested against my 
waist, which left a red welt where the 
rope had dug into flesh. The only other 
tool that I had in my back pocket was 
the red insulated handle of Jerry's 
crescent wrench, which was sticking 
out of my right back pocket a few 
inches. I did not carry any other tool or 

Continued on page 62 

J.R. Laughlin 

Houston Community College 

4310 Dunlavy 

Houston TX 77006 

Introducing the Perfective 1 

Tim noninvasive current meter features a clever circuit that YOU can build. 

The problem with making current measurements using the standard mA meter is that 
the meter must be inserted into the measured circuit. These meters have internal 
resistance, which adds to the resistance of the circuit being measured. This causes a 
reduction in the circuit current, and thus a lower reading than expected. No more. 

You know, what instigated this 
whole project was a student's 
comment in class one time. I 
was lecturing on the use of the milliam- 
meter and explaining how the internal 
resistance of these devices often causes 
bad readings in a circuit. I commented 
that when we all gel to heaven and St. 
Peter issues us our little mA meters, 
they will be PERFECT, with no internal 
resistance or resulting voltage drop. 

The students took this with a sigh, 
but one in the back looked worried. I 
asked him what was wrong, and he re- 
plied: "Mr. Lorfin, I wonder if YOU 
will ever get to see one ..." 

Well, I thought about this and real- 
ized how true that might be. So I de- 
cided that I had better invent one for 
myself while there was still time, if I 
was ever going to behold one's beauty. 

Fig. 1. Representative circuit showing 
current flow. 

This project is the result. 
P.S. The student made an A in the 

In search of perfection 

Sometimes, a circuit may be work- 
ing perfectly until you make a current 
measurement, and it may not be work- 
ing so well while you are making the 
measurement. Also, from the results of 
the measurement, you might mistak- 
enly think that there is a defect in the 
measured circuit when there really is 
not one. This has been quite a problem 
for me and others in the past. 

To fix it? Well, it was hard to imag- 
ine a standard DC-AC milliammeter 
that has zero measuring resistance and 
zero burden voltage. However, one 
day a thought came to me that resulted 
in this design, a design that has over- 
come this fault and resulted in the 
"Perfective Current Meter." 

This instrument is not difficult for 
anyone to build. I built the prototype 
shown here for about $60. Let me has- 
ten to add that this was going first- 
class, using new parts not obtained as 
cheaply as could have been. 

In Table 1, I've listed the specified 
internal resistance and burden voltage 

values for one commercial DVM. In 
Table 2, we see some typical current 
readings, taken with random resis- 
tances and voltages, using, the meter in 
Table 1 and the Perfective 1 Current 
Meter, or Perfl. Note that the errors 
greatly exceed the rated accuracy of 
any digital current meter. Of course, in 
many circuits the error is not this 
gross; however, an error is always 
there, and most people tend to consis- 
tently fail to compensate for it when 
making current measurements. 

In meters using protective fuses, 
these fuses can add to the internal re- 
sistance of the-meter in addition to the 
normal shunt resistance, especially if 
they have not been selected so as to 
have minimal resistance. 

One idea in use to reduce this problem 
is to use lower values of shunt resistors 


Xv vv ■ 1 r^ 

y ■*=- C<TI \ /(l BURDEN 



Fig. 2. Representative circuit showing added 
circuit resistance from standard mA meter. 
73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 37 





(full scale) 

4 mA 


800 mV 

40 mA 


800 mV 

400 mA 


800 mV 

Table 1. Specified internal resistance and 
burden voltage values for one commercial 





















Table 2. Table 1 readings versus Perfl 


P-P Burden 


Adjustable to zero 

100 Hz 

Virtually unmeasurable 

500 Hz 

Approx. 0.5 mV peak, 
or less 

1 kHz 

3 kHz 

6 kHz 

30 kHz 

Approx. 20 mV peak 

Table 3. Burden voltage for DC and AC 
measurements using Perfl. 

Fig. 3. Representative circuit showing per- 
fective mA meter with zero burden voltage. 

and amplify the shunt voltage. This is 
effective, but does not solve the prob- 
lem as neatly as the approach used in 
this instrument. 

The cited example of errors is com- 
mon among all standard commercial 
meters, not just the one described. 

This instrument, when used with a 
DVM or any other type of current 
meter, overcomes the problem to near 
perfection. DC burden voltage can be 
38 73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 

Approx. Cost (S) 


LED lamp 

Red fixture 




LED lamp 

Green fixture 









Seis, binding posts 

Nylon banana, individual 



TS. 6 

Binding post 

Chassis mount, dual banana 




Spade lugs 

#6 terminal 





SPST toggle 




Tie polm 

2-point with ground 




Line cord 

6 ft. 3-wire 









TIP 1 20 or equiv. 

NPN Darlington. TO-220 


1 29 


TIP 1 27 or equiv. 

PNP Darlington, TO-220 

RSU1 1371 101 

1 69 


Op amp 

LM353 low power 

RSU1 1929072 




1.4 A bridge, round case 





1 A bridge, dip 



01. 2 

Reg. diodes 

LM38S n.a. Radio Shack 


1N5221B2.4 Vzeners 

RSU1 1673431 



Any zener up to 4.3 V 



1N4000 series 





1M34 germanium 





10/16 VDC 





10/35 VDC radial 





0.01/500 VDC 





0-1/50 VDC 





1 0/35 VDC axiak 





3300/25 VDC radial 

RSU1 1935368 


R1.4, 5. 13 

Carbon Mm. 
1/4 W, 5% 












R6 if used 









10k "5-turn pot 













RSU1 1344637 




Miniature 0.25 A PT 

RSU1 1322864 



Nuts, bolts 






1/2" #6 hole for main board 





1/4" #6 hole for PS board 





12VCT® 0.45 A 




Sonic device 

Radio Shack 




Heat sinks 

For transistors above 



1 ea. 

Main circuit and PS PCB 



Table 4. Parts list. 

trimmed to zero, resulting in zero 
ohms internal resistance also. The 
burden voltage for DC and AC mea- 
surements using this instrument is 
approximately as shown in Table 3. 

These measurements were taken at a 
current of 0.1 amp. Note that the fre- 
quency range here exceeds that of the 
standard DVM. Any existing burden 
voltage varies linearly with the amount 
of current; consequently, it is less for 
smaller currents being measured. It 
should be noted that the above burden 
voltage was measured at the SENSE 
terminals, which does not take into ac- 
count test lead and connector resistance, 
etc. — more on this later. 

How it works 

The operation of this circuit is based 
upon the "burning desire" of an op 
amp to keep its two input terminals at 
the same potential. A feedback path 
from the op amp output to the invert- 
ing input gives an op amp capability to 
do this. 

In this circuit, the op amp is con- 
nected as an inverting amplifier (see 
Fig. 3). The feedback resistor is the 
readout meter. The input resistor is the 
intrinsic resistance of the circuit into 
which the op amp is inserted. In order 
to keep its two input terminals at the 
same potential, the op amp provides 
output current of a magnitude to 
match the circuit current, but of opposite 
polarity; this is standard inverting. 

Amplifier operation 

The above results in an interesting 
situation — the two input terminals of 
the op amp appear to be shorted to- 
gether; the circuit being measured 
does not realize that the op amp is 
even inserted into it. A low frequency 
op amp was specifically used here to 
greatly reduce any tendency for the 
circuit to oscillate while still providing 
sufficient bandwidth for the circuit. A 
drawback to this circuit is that the op 
amp must be able to provide the same 
current as is flowing in the circuit be- 
ing measured, hence, the power tran- 
sistor output stage and the relatively 
heavy power supply. For cun'ent ranges 
within the capability of the op amp 
itself, no transistor boost would be 







• R 








Fig. 4. Testing for proper operation. See text. 



t 1 

Fig. 5. Demonstrating the lack of added circuit resistance afforded by the perfective mA 
meter. See text. 



Fig. 6. Connecting so that test lead and connector resistance is canceled. See text. 

needed, and a lighter supply could be 
used. The power supply voltage can be 
quite low, in that the supply voltage 
only needs to be high enough to over- 
come the small voltage drop of the 
readout meter and to operate the op 
amp itself. 

The transistors (Ql and Q2) are 
Darlington types for large current gain. 
Bias for the transistors is provided by 
D5 through D8. Note that D7 is a ger- 
manium diode. This combination of 
diodes resulted in the best biasing for 

good AC output capability and proper 
idle current D5 and D8 are mounted 
on the heat sinks to provide transistor 
bias stability due to temperature changes 
occurring with transistor operation. 
R14 and C6 provide compensation to 
prevent the circuit from oscillating. 

Note that the readout meter is con- 
nected from the transistor emitter junc- 
tions (the output, T6) back to the 
inverting input of the op amp (through 
T5, Tl, jumper, T3, and R5 to pin 6) 
and that the noninverting input of the 
73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 39 

27 mA 


RED " <eT^® -— ^J 


^~ls 2 c iT~^rii| T C7 i-^ 





Fig. 7. Schematic of complete unit, less power supply. 

op amp (pin 5) is at power supply 
ground (through R4, T4, jumper, and 
T2). The circuit being measured is 
connected to Tl and T2 through the 
test leads. 

The sense terminals, T3 and T4, are 
the actual points that the op amp will 
hold at equal potential. They are nor- 
mally connected to Tl and T2 with 

short jumpers. They can be discon- 
nected from Tl and T2, and be con- 
nected with separate leads to the point 
where the test leads are connected to 
the circuit being measured, thereby 
canceling any voltage drop in the test 

Op amp offset adjustment, (+) and 
(-), is provided by two regulated 

voltages applied to the 10k pot, R8. 
Adjustment of R8 will apply any de- 
sired amount of offset voltage to pin 5 
through R7. Regulation of these volt- 
ages was done in the prototype using 
the LM385 regulators. If these are in- 
convenient to obtain, any type of regu- 
lator device will suffice, provided that 
it will operate satisfactorily from a 5 
volt source. See the parts list, Table 4. 
If a different level of regulated voltage 
is used here, you might desire to 
change R7 — use about 100k per 
volt of regulated voltage for ease of 

Since the circuit should normally 
have virtually no voltage present 
across the input terminals, voltage here 
indicates that there is a problem of 
some kind, such as an open readout 
meter circuit. Warning of this, or other 
problems, is provided by the second 
section of the op amp package. This 
section amplifies any voltage present 
here, turns on the red panel lamp in- 
dicating a circuit malfunction, and 
activates the sonic device. 

The sensitivity of this warning cir- 
cuit can be adjusted by the value of 

Fig. 8. Main PCB, foil side {100%). 

40 73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 

Q m t- ^ 

O oOoa 





— 0JT— 

os S 

P £ 

p CQ 

Fig. 9. Parts placement, main PCB. 








swi n 


vo< * 








27 mA 

±i Cll o.iv 

3300 RIPPLE 


3300 - SUPPLY 
20 mA 
O o.lV 

Fig. 10. Power supply schematic. 

R3. R6 is necessary if a standard LED 
is used. It would be jumpered for 
LEDs with a built-in limiting resistor. 
The small sonic device was soldered 
directly to the LED pads on the bottom 
of the circuit board, being mounted so 
that it points out from the side of the 
board. Two diodes, D3 and D4 at the 
input terminals, offer a path for current 
to flow (but with voltage drop) from 
the measured circuit, if this instrument 
is turned off or is otherwise inoperative. 

The power supply used here is good 
for about 0.5 amp of current; however, 
a heavier supply will permit a much 
greater current 
measurement, as 
the output transis- 
tors are rated for 
5 amps. The par- 
ticular heat sinks 
used here would 
not be suitable for 
more than about 1 

amp of steady current flow with the 
supply voltage of 5 volts or so. This 
supply voltage is sufficient to operate 
the circuit while resulting in minimal 
heating of the output transistors. For 
this reason, it is suggested that what- 
ever changes might be made, you 
should not use a supply voltage higher 
than this. Using the power supply fea- 
tured, current measurements above ap- 
proximately 0.5 amp can result in 
lowered power supply voltages and in- 
creased ripple, which will most likely 
cause the circuit to malfunction. 

Building the circuit 

Note that all parts can be obtained 
from Radio Shack except the circuit 
boards. There are no parts used here 
that arc critical as to tolerance. All 
parts listed can he substituted with 
equivalents. Construction is straight- 

Connection of some wiring is criti- 
cal in order that current flow does not 
contribute to offset voltage: 

Fig. 11. PS PCB, foil side (100%). 

Fig. 12. Parts placement, PS PCB. 

73 Amateur Radio Today ■ December 2000 41 

Photo A. In. 

howing placement of boards and wiring. Photo B. Front panel view 

A. Power supply ground wire directly 

B. Circuit board ground wire connected 
as above. 

C. RED INPUT terminal (Tl) directly 
to the RED METER terminal. 

D. RED SENSE terminal <T3) to the 
INVERTING op amp input. 

E. BLK SENSE terminal (T4) to the 
NONINVERTING op amp input. 


The schematic shows these connec- 
tions. The cabinet should be isolated 
from the circuit ground but connected 
to AC ground (earth ground, third 
wire) along with the transformer core. 
Connection of the various wires to the 
main circuit board was accomplished 
using small wire- wrap pins soldered 
onto the board. It is a good idea to 
bend the pins at a right angle for an 
eighth of an inch or so where they fit 
onto the board pad, to increase solder- 

Photo C. Rear view. 

42 73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 

joint strength. Female push-on connec- 
tors that came from an old type "D" 
computer plug were soldered to the wire 
ends. A short piece of snug-fitting shrink 
tubing around the push-on connectors 
is in order. 

Being able to separate the board 
from the wiring is wonderful, should 
you have to remove it from the case. 
Due to the tight fit of everything inside 
the cabinet, you must carefully con- 
sider the mounting of all items before 
drilling holes! The circuit board is 
mounted by two screws on 3/8-inch 
standoffs. The hole positions on the 
board are shown on the artwork. I 
might mention here that the standard 
spacing for the banana jacks used on 
the front panel is 0.75 inches. This is 
compatible with the double banana 
plugs that you might desire to use. 

I suggest that all cabinet panel items 
and the power supply board be 
mounted before the main board is po- 
sitioned inside the case. If you mount 
the main board first, it will, for sure, 
conflict with some of the other cabi- 
net-mounted items when they are put 
into place, because of the tight fit. The 
on-off switch can conflict with the 
lower right-hand comer of the circuit 
board very easily, so a bit of this cor- 
ner was cut off at a 45 -degree angle 
(see artwork) to ensure proper clear- 
ance. To say the least, very carefully 
consider the mounting of all items 
before drilling holes! 

The AC cord was brought in through 
a grommeted hole. A tie wrap around 
the cord on the inside, tightened close 
to the grommet, is used as a strain 
relief. The neutral and hot wires are 

connected to the terminals on a two- 
terminal tie point. Ground wire is 
bolted with a lug to the case. Small 
wires were connected from the tic lug 
to the transformer primary and on-off 
switch (hot wire). Be very careful with 
routing, insulation, and connection of 
the hot wire. I always place a piece of 
shrink tubing around the on-off switch 
to cover the hot wire terminals. A large 

IC1 Pin # 




2, 3, 5, 6 









Equal to regulator voltage 



Q1 emitter 


Q1 base 





Q2 emitter 


Q2 base 


+ Power supply current drain = approx. 27 mA 

- Power supply current drain = approx. 20 mA 

Power supply ripple = 0.1 V P-P 

Power supply ripple @ 0.1 A current = 
0.2 V P-P 

Power supply ripple ® 0.4 A current = 
0.65 V P-P 

Table 5. Voltage chart. Voltage readings 
taken with 10 meg input resistancr DVM, 
Tl and T2 open, readout meter connected 
to METER output jacks on rear. 

piece of shrink tubing was placed 
around the tie point to cover it. 

Test for proper operation 

It would be a good idea to first read 
pertinent voltages as shown on the 
schematic to see if yours correspond. 
Connect the readout meter to the 
"METER" terminals and put it into the 
current function. Ranging is done by 
adjustment of the READOUT meter. 
Jumper the input and sense terminals 
together as shown on the schematic. 
Apply NO input. Now check your 
voltages against those listed. 

Connect a variable DC voltage sup- 
ply through about 50 ohms to test 
leads going to the INPUT terminals 
(see Fig. 4). A millivokmeter or oscil- 
loscope can be used to record milli- 
volts at the SENSE terminals. Apply a 
steady current of 200 mA through the 
resistor to the test leads. This 200 mA 
from the supply should be indicated by 
both milliammeters. These two read- 
ings should agree. Adjust the 10k pot, 
R8, for zero millivolts at the SENSE 
terminals. Vary the current from to 
400 mA, and note that the SENSE 
voltage should not vary by more than 
approximately 0.1 mV, max. This 
variation is the input signal voltage to 
the op amp; this will vary some from 
one op amp to another due to differ- 
ences in gain of the devices. A much 
greater variation of voltage here with 
current means that the SENSING is 
not proper, possibly due to incorrect 
wiring of the terminals. If this test 
checks out, you can then measure the 
millivolts present at the test lead clips. 
This will be very small and due to the 
resistance of the test leads and INPUT 
terminal connection resistance (the ba- 
nana plugs). This voltage will vary 
with current and will be equal to the 
total resistance of the leads and con- 
nections multiplied by the current 
flow. The method of eliminating this is 
discussed later. 

Testing for accuracy 

First, obtain two digital current 
meters and connect them in series. De- 
termine their comparative accuracy at 
different current levels. Next, connect 
one to the Perfective 1 Current Meter 

output terminals and connect the other 
to read input current. Generate a cur- 
rent flow and compare the readings. 
Reverse the input polarity of current 
flow into the Perfective 1 Current 
Meter and determine comparative 
readings of output for the positive and 
negative current flow; these should be 
very close. You should be certain the 
offset adjustment (R8) is close to zero, 
as this will cause a difference in the 
above readings if not. Tests on the pro- 
totype have been within less than 1% 
of each other. 

Demonstrating the action 

Try using different values of voltage 
and resistance; connect the circuit as 
shown in Fig. 5. Take a reading on the 
READOUT meter. This will be the 
reading you will get without the aid of 
this instrument due to the resistance of 
the TEST meter. Now jump around the 
TEST meter as shown in Fig. 5 and 
note the increase in current reading on 
the READOUT meter. This is the true 
circuit current that will flow when no 
meter is inserted into the circuit or 
when you are using the Perfective 1 

This difference illustrates the useful- 
ness of this instrument. The greatest 
difference will be evident when the 
range setting of the TEST meter is 
such that you get closest to full-scale 
reading on it. 

Using the Perfective 1 Current 

This circuit was designed to be used 
with any type of current meter. Of 
course, to measure AC current, the 
meter in use will have to have this fea- 
ture. Observing polarity of connection 
will ensure a proper polarity indication 
on the meter readout when in the DC 

Normally, the SENSE terminals and 
the INPUT terminals will be wired to- 
gether by short wire jumpers con- 
nected directly between the two. As 
mentioned before, the only point of 
connection where the burden voltage 
will be zeroed is at the SENSE TER- 
MINALS. The test leads connecting 
the measured circuit, as well as INPUT 
TERMINAL connection resistance, 

will cause voltage drop (burden volt- 
age) due to the current flow. This volt- 
age drop has been measured at around 
20 mV or SO and will vary with the 
characteristics of the test leads used. 

If you is desire to have the resistance 
of the TEST leads zeroed out. separate 
SENSE leads should be connected 
from the SENSE terminals directly to 
the point of connection of the TEST 
leads (see Fig. 6). This will naturally 
require four leads going from the in- 
strument directly to the measured cir- 
cuit. Of course, the jumpers between 
the two sets of terminals should be re- 
moved for this type of REMOTE 
SENSING. It is important that the 
SENSE test leads be connected to the 
measured circuit itself next to the point 
where the TEST leads are connected, 
not to the clips of the TEST leads. This 
will ensure that the TEST lead clip re- 
sistance will be zeroed out also. 

A confusing problem can result from 
the negative leads of test instruments 
and/or circuits being connected to- 
gether through the third-wire ground 
of the AC line cord. Oscilloscopes nor- 
mally have their negative lead con- 
nected to the third-wire "gfound. Some 
multimeters do also. To prevent this 
problem, you can use a three-to-two- 
wire adapter on the AC line cord of the 
offending instrument to remove this 
connection. To test for this, use an 
ohmmeter to see if negative leads are 
connected to the third-wire ground 
terminal on the AC line cord. 2 

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73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 43 

The Digitrl Port 

Jack Heller KB7N0 

P.O. Box 1792 

Carson City NV 89702-1792 


More New Freeware! 

With the sudden rush of enthusiasm overPSK31, some hams feared that the RTTY mode might 
gently slip away into the night, and for a time there were numerous converts to the warbly 
mode. However, there is new life being pumped into the longstanding champ of digital modes. 

There were already some soundcard pro- 
grams that function very well on RTTY, 
namely MixW and TrueTTY. I have both 
and they are very good. 

But now you can get an absolutely free 
piece of well-written software dedicated to 
RTTY that runs under Windows and even 
has a version for the much maligned pre- 
Pentium 486 machine. I am running it suc- 
cessfully on my 1 20 MHz Pentium with 32 
megs of RAM, though I am led to under- 
stand that may be as slow as the 586 pro- 
cessor can be expected to run the program 
well. Even so, with today's hungry pro- 
grams, this is a nice-working, well-thought- 
out piece of software that should gain a 
lot of followers long before this column 

I had heard of the MMTTY program for 
a couple of weeks, and everyone kept tell- 
ing me how great it was, so I had to find 
it and give it a try. It wasn't difficult to 
find. It is on several sites. The best thing 
to do is to use one of the English sites. 
The one I used is listed in The Chart. The 
first version I downloaded had some in- 
structions that were obviously translated and 
the Help files required manipulating, so I 
went to a little extra effort and printed the 
Help files separately. 

That was a good idea, until a few days 
later when version 1.58 appeared — with 
excellent rewritten Help files. Some folks 
got together and really did a bang-up job of 
writing understandable instructions and put 
them on the VE5KC Web site. These are just 
about as close to perfection as anyone's in- 
structions can ever get — and way out in 
front of some of the files that come from 
those who wrote this word processor I am 
using. Sometimes, I fear for the day when I 
finally upgrade from this "comfortable- old- 
shoe" version of Word and have to learn all 
over how to format a page. 
44 73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 

You will have virtually no problem get- 
ting the MMTTY program set up and run- 
ning. If you have been using a soundcard 
program, have audio cables in place to your 
soundcard, and perhaps the luxury of aPTT 
circuit (or a RigBlaster box, to do it the 
easy way), then the MMTTY program will 
install and you will feel right at home. 

It took about 1 5 minutes from the time I 
started executing the installation until I 
was tuning a RTTY signal and making a 
contact. I wasn't yet proficient with the 
many macros you will find already pro- 
grammed, but I was struggling (thrilling?) 
along using the program and, of course, 
making my usual excuses for being a little 
slow at the operating "because this is an 
unfamiliar program." 

Most hams will put up with that. I have 
programs that I use which give me a little 
problem occasionally. The other day, I was 
telling the contact at the other end what had 
happened, and he gave me the best expla- 
nation for the problem anyone ever has. He 
said he simply called those things: "woolly 
buggers." I liked that. I can use it when I 
press a wrong key or just simply address a 
peculiar algorithm the programmer hasn't 
discovered yet. 

I am finding a real advantage in having 
joined the MMTTY reflector, which is eas- 
ily done from the download area where you 
download the program. I have been check- 
ing my E-mail the past several days and 
there is a good amount of reflector activity. 
There have been at least two or three good 
hints that make life easier for the operator 
with this new program. These reflectors can 
be very handy, at least at first, and if they 
get to be a nuisance, it is usually quite easy 
to unsubscribe. But I recommend joining, 
at least at this time. 

The program is a little different in its 
makeup, as the programmer, Mako 

JE3HHT, has tried to put in all the bells and 
whistles anyone could ever dream of ask- 
ing for. You will have to agree he did a very 
fine job. 

There is even a scope for the purists 
among you. This does not seem to be nec- 
essary, as there is a spectral display and a 
waterfall already in place, and you will soon 
discover you will tune most accurately with 
either one of the latter. The scope can be 
turned on and off and tweaked a bit for clar- 
ity. I read somewhere that the scope tends 
to slow the system a bit. That would be 
excuse enough to leave it off. 

On a quick count, I fina"29 macros avail- 
able. Most of them have been pre-pro- 
grammed, but you will find the author has 
his -own personal information in many 
places which you will want to change to 
conform with your personal and station info. 
The editing is simple enough: and the in- 
structions in the Help file will keep you out 
of trouble. 

Macros are great for several reasons. I 
recall working a ham a while back who had 
just about everything he felt necessary for a 
successful QSO broken up into chunks and 
stored in the many macros in his software. 
Between using macros and typing ahead, he 
could get by without ever making excuses 
for his typing skills. He referred to himself 
as "the macro king." I felt he had a very 
good method. It can be difficult, even for 
the best typist, to look like his skills are 
under control at all times. 

Another need answered well by macros 
is getting the message out with the least 
amount of composing, or rather the short- 
est number of letters, and turning it back to 
the other operator. The reason is that often 
a slight change in propagation will bring 
copy crashing down, especially in RTTY. 
So short, well-planned, exchanges do won- 
ders for the success ratio of completed 

If nothing else, I like to have, in addition 
to a CQ message, and answer-CQ, a turn- 
over, a BTU, a name and QTH and an SK 
macro ready. The big advantage there is it 
is so much easier to let the computer recall 
the other station's call and insert it at the 
right time. I can type my own callsign eas- 
ily, bat remembering and typing someone 
else's is usually time consuming and brings 
the orderly process of "conversational typing" 
to a grinding halt. 

Now-a-days, most programs will insert 
the other station's call and the operator's 
name automatically in the macros and we 
look pretty smart. I like that (things that 
make me look smart, that is). 

As I write, I have the program running 
and have just made two contacts in mid- 
copy here, and both of those were hams us- 
ing the MMTTY software. Both were 
marveling how intuitive and easy the setup 
is. I think the ending phrase after that bit of 
news is, "that says it all." 

As you explore this program, you will 
discover that a full-fledged log is included, 
with the capability to export to an ADIF file 
that you can import into your favorite log- 
ging program. You will also find complete 
instructions for logging in the Help files. 
Very nice. 

Something else you will find on the 
MMTTY download site is a little 6-page 
primer called "RTTY Basics." This is a well- 
written, informative read that gives you a 
good overview of what is different about the 
mode. Worth reading for newcomers and a 
good refresher for any old-timer. It not only 
covers some basics we all should know but 
also gives a few specifics as to how the 
MMTTY handles certain classic RTTY 

You will find this file as you pass into the 
"Help" region of the URL. I thought it was 
a download file, but I had to print it from 
Ihe site. It is not very big, about six pages, 
but it contains a lot of good info worth having 

Some updates are in order. The URLs 
listed in The Chart have a way of becoming 
dated. I just received word from a reader 
who "archives" his 73 mags and refers to 
them a little later. It seems he was reading a 
January (this year, I think) issue and needed 
help to look up the RCKRtty software URL. 
I know I had reviewed it, and there was a 
problem accessing the Web site. 

I expected the worst, but went to my copy 
of The Chart and copied and pasted it to the 
browser and all is well, except that there is 
a reference to a new LRL and it looks like 
there should not be confusion with the new 
address. It is edited in The Chart now, 

f.E JNI1 13=112 7NO MD ?i UN " IV Vp ; ■ [V. 

«■ MWtttra SOKE PSSUBt, 

BTU s«i rasss ac 

aiEEDj ! 

K OFTEH.. . . 


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^~7j 54* 


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ITT, , , ETO ke DI 

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Fig'. 1. Screenshot — MMTTY freeware for RTTY. This is version 1.58. By the time this 
reaches print, there may be many changes. This is the start of the really fine Help files 
that do their job. The program runs on Windows and reminds you of the PSK programs in 
that so much is automatic. The setup and operation are very intuitive. Many of the mac- 
ros are predefined. You will need to edit them, but the Help file will lead you well. The 
tuning screen is displaying the "scope, " which can be optimized or removed entirely. I 
found that tuning was a snap, and the AFC worked well to keep the signal fine-tuned. The 
program takes advantage of the DSP in the soundcard and the "BPF" button at the top 
stands for Band Pass Filter, which can be tweaked from the "Options" menu. You will 
notice that log entries do not seem to contain a "QTH" box. If you click on "Name, " it 
will change to accept a QTH entry. I conversed with users on the air who were working 
their first RTTY, as well as to those with "green key" experience, and all agreed it was an 
exhilarating ride. The copy compares at least favorably with any other method anyone, had 
used. It looks like "everyone is doing it" and Mom doesn 't object. Quite a success story! 

I had forgotten, but the author of 
RCKRtty promises a program for the MFJ- 
1278 (along with other popular TNCs). The 
MFI is difficult to find aftermarket software 
for, and since I do not have one of the magic 
little boxes, I asked the inquiring ham to let 
me know how he liked the package. I know 
there are others who are disgruntled with the 
factory package and have asked. So we shall 
see, and I will let you know what happens. 

At the same instance, I was informed thai 
the N1RCT Web site no longer lists RTTY 
software. I know there are other listings on 
the Internet and have promised to look 
around. It so happens there is a link to a 
listing of soundcard communications soft- 
ware for most modes we discuss here on 
the URL where you will download 
MMTTY. So, for now, that is an excellent 
place to browse for your software needs. 

Some of you may have been as much in 
the dark as I have been. I have been using a 
small, by today's standards, monitor (13" 
diag.) and still am, but I have accomplished 
an improvement. And you may be able to 
do the same thing. 


Here was where the problem became ap- 
parent. As you recall, I was testing, using 
and loading the upgrades for Win Warbler. 
That was going well, until the last few up- 
dates stopped displaying about one inch of 
the right side of the panel on my monitor. 

I fiddled and adjusted with no success and 
asked Dave, the author of the program, for 
advice. It seems"this old-fashioned setup 
comes normally with a 640 x 480 pixel dis- 
play. If the monitor is a true SVGA, as this 
one is marked, then there is a choice to go 
to 800 x 600 display. 

I made a hurried attempt at this and, sure 
enough, it could be accomplished, but I was 
lacking some tweaking to get the results I 
expected. Dave chided me a bit for my lack 
of patience and I got back to it in a few days, 
and I am now using the 800 x 600 display 
option that was available all the time with 
the video driver that came with the machine. 
Maybe not originally but at least after some 
upgrades. This is about a 1994 monitor, 
maybe 1993, so I suppose I am lucky to get 
it to do the job. 

With the new display mode, the 
Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 45 

WinWarbler displays perfectly and a prob- 
lem I was having with the program totally 
disappeared. That was the inability to se- 
lect text for the QTH box. Selecting 
seemed to be a very delicate operation and 
you needed to avoid scrolling during the 
selection. All that problem stabilized. 

Plus, of course, the entire display of the 
WinWarbler is available. I suppose I should 
mention that those who are monitor chal- 
lenged such as I am, will need to make 
whatever provision is necessary to attain 
the 800 x 600 display for that program. 

I found another program that this new 
found display helps, and that is MixW. If 
you check on the MixW setup, you will 
find display options that just do not quite 
work the way you expect if you are run- 
ning the 640 x 480 mode. When you make 
the change to 800 x 600, and expand the 
program display, it is like a whole new 

I thought at first that the word processor 
display was going to take a hit. It does, but 
not a serious one. The display will expand 
to fill the monitor, and the only real prob- 
lem is that the 12-point type font looks more 
like 10-point. That could be changed by 


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increasing the font size, but it is readable 
after you get used to it. 

I suggested that Dave might put some 
instructions with the WinWarbler software 
that would help those in need of the change. 
He said, and I believe it, that there are too 
many variations of the operating systems 
to allow a hard and fast set of rules for 
tweaking the display driver. 

What worked for me may sound like 
Greek to many of you. I brought up the 
Control Panel and selected Display and then 
selected Settings. On that panel I was able 
to manipulate the display and get it to ap- 
ply. However, as I said, it wasn't satisfac- 
tory the first time. Probably about the third 
attempt, the change stuck and all that was 
left was to adjust the knobs on the monitor 
to center the "picture." 

My guess is that you will either have to 
find instructions, experiment as I did, or ask 

your local "guru" for help. It is definitely 
worth the effort if you can do it without 
spending the bucks for the large monitor and 
proper driver. And, if 500 or so bucks does 
fit into your budget, then you would surely 
enjoy the largest monitor you can afford. 

A lot more can be done, such as display- 
ing screens side by side for some of the more 
complex setups. At this time, if I want to 
run two simultaneous displays, it is neces- 
sary to display them one on top of the other 
and switch back and forth. Anyway, for 
whatever it is worth, these computers keep 
doing more fun stuff if you just throw 
enough money at them. 

If you have questions or comments about 
this column. E-mail me at [jheller@]. I will gladly share what I know 
or find a resource for you. For now, 73, Jack 

Source for: 

Web address (URL): 

Mix W Soundcard program (or PSK31, RTTY, 
new modes, MTTY, FSK31, more 
http://users, htm 

MMTTY New RTTY soundcard freeware plus 
links to other software 


TrueTTY — Sound card RTTY wl PSK31 


Pasokon SSTV programs _ hardware 

www,, html 

PSK31 — Free — and much PSK info 

Interface for digital - rigs to computers'iGUTaster.htm 

Interface Info for DIY digital hams! 

Site with links to PSK31 and Logger 7. Also 
Zakanaka and scope program 

PSKGNfl — Front end for PSK31 

Digipan — PSK31 — easy to use — new version 

TAPR — Lois of info 

TNC lo radio wiring help 

http://treeweb.pdq. nefmedcaltetx/ 

ChromaPIX and ChromaSound DSP software 

Timewave DSP 4 AEA products 

Auto tuner and other kits 

XPWare — TNC software with sample DL 


RCKRfty Windows program with free DL 


HF ii 1 a! r^casT plans i RTTY & Pactor 


SV2AGW (fee Win95 programs .him 

Source for BayPac BP-2M & APRS 

www.tigerlranics com/ 

BayCom — German site 

BayCom 1.5 and in English 

Int'l Visual Communication Assn. — nonprofit 
org, dedicated lo SSTV 

Creative Services Software 

Hellschrelber_ MT63 

Table 1. The Infamous Chart — Almost everything ... 

46 73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 

The DK Forum 

Dr. RiekOlsen N6NR 

Western Washington DX Club 

P.O. Box 538 

Issaquah, WA 98027-0538 


DX4WIN Now Available with PSK31 Functionality 

One of the premier DX logging programs has just been made even better. DX for Windows, a 
product of Rapidan Data Systems in Virginia, now gives the DXer the capability of real-time 
PSK31 operation from a window within the program itself. 

It is no longer necessary to manually en- 
ter critical QSO information, or operate 
a separate program while working a station 
on PSK3 1 . Now, a couple mouse clicks and 
keystrokes are all that are necessary to op- 
erate this exciting new mode in a manner 
that is fully integrated with your "e-log." 

Beyond PSK31 functionality, DX4WIN 
is a multifaceted program that allows you 
to place your log on your home PC or laptop, 
while maintaining a connection to a DX 
cluster via AX25 packet or the Internet. It 
also provides the capability of making QSOs 
happen either with a CW keyboard, or via a 
separate RTTY window. Oh, and do you 
have one of the new computer-controllable 
rigs, or an antenna rotator? It will interface 
with those toys as well. Here is an alpha- 
betical listing of some of the key functions 
of DX4WIN version 5. The entire list is too 
extensive to include here. 

Awards. Support for DXCC, WAS, WAS 
and WPX (mixed, mode and band) 5-band 
DXCC, 5-band WAZ. Separate flags to track 
the mixed, mode and band awards. Support 
for custom awards, county, IOTA and 

Contesting. When contest mode is en- 
abled and a starting time is defined, a new 
QSO will be checked for a duplicate con- 
tact in the contest. An incrementing serial 
number can be displayed during a contest. 
Master data files can be used from other 
contesting software forcallsign recognition. 

CW keyboard. A full-function CW key- 
board which works under Windows. User- 
programmable memories accessed using 
function keys. Adjustable weighting and 
visual transmit buffer. Uses interfaces to 
serial and parallel ports. Buttons available 
to send stored CW messages using the 

External data. Support for the 
Buckmaster, Flying Horse (RAC), QRZ!, 

Octavia and Amsoft callsign databases on 
CD-ROM. Support for the GOLIST to ob- 
tain QSL manager information. Support for 

QSL information from a callsign CD-ROM 
(when provided). Import and Export filter 
for ADIF filters for: ARRL. CT, DX4WIN, 
DXBase (3 & 4), DXDesktop, DXLog, 
Easy Log, GemRadio, HyperLog, LogBook, 
LogEQF, LogicW, LogMaster. LogPlus, 
LogWin, N6TR, NA, SD, SecondOP, 
SwissLog, TopLog, TurboLog, WB2DND, 
WF1B, WJ20, WRTC, and others. QSOs 
that generate errors when imported are still 
included in the log with an error message 
attached. It is not necessary to edit an error 
file and retry the import. Users can define 
their own import/export fillers. Utilities are 
provided to convert some file formats, such 
as dBase and comma-delimited, to fixed- 
field ASCII suitable for the import function. 

Gray line. Display shadow and gray line 
on world map. Calculates gray line data 
between user's station and DX countries. 
User defined gray line "window." Calculates 
sunrise/sunset data for user station and DX 
station for up to one year. 

Help. Extensive context-sensitive help 
with hotlinks to related topics help avail- 
able by pressing Fl key. User's guide is avail- 
able from installed file or can be purchased 
printed and bound to lie flat. 

Import/export of logs. Master Call Data: 
Master Call data can be imported from con- 
testing programs, converted, and used in 
DX4WIN/32 for contesting or general 

Multiple logs. Many users keep separate 
logs for previously held callsigns, locations 
or DXpeditions in order to be able to make 
submissions for awards. With DX4WINyou 
can also logically split the log file, allow- 
ing summaries and award calculations to be 
limited to certain groups of QSOs. Limiting 
the summaries to a date range allows the user 
also to monitor "progress""'1ri a contest. 

Operating system. 32-bit programming 
designed to run under all 32-bit versions of 
Windows. User-friendly install program. 
The log file is a single file and can be in 
any directory. Log files are small (500k for 
8000 QSOs) and there are no "index files, 
etc.,. making it easy to back up a log on a 
floppy disk. Log files can be backed up at a 
user-specified time interval. Supports serial 
ports 1 through 8 and parallel ports 1 
through 3. 

Packet. Large packet window- (up to 
16,000 lines). Contents of packet window 
can be copied to the clipboard. Large num- 
ber of DX spots (up to 16.000 entries). 
Packet spots are color-coded to reflect 

.... -:X 



"-rii-i - .-:. .■•. 


Photo A. DX4WIN logo. 

73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 47 

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i:;..:l. : _ ..... „ 

jj£»". •; -'■ 'l-S.- 

Fig. /. 77«s is a screen capture from the PSK31 Rumble contest. 

status of new country /new mode/new band. 
Color coding is based on the DXCC, WAZ, 
or WPX status. DX spots are saved so they 









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are available again when the programis re- 
started. Filtering of spots based on the pre- 
fix and/or the CQ zone of the spotter. Avoid 
getting excited 
about a spot that was 
reported on the other 
side of the world. 
Voice or CW an- 
no uncements. of DX 
spots using the Win- 
dows sound system. 
QSX frequencies in 
spots are recognized 
in different ways, 
like QSX 200, WKD 
14205, UP 3, DN 4, 
etc. Additions/dele- 
tions and updates of 
QSOs are reflected 
in the colors of the 
spots immediately. 
New DX spots re- 
place older spots for 
the same station on 
the same band; no 
endless' repetitions 
of the same spot if 
you are not con- 
nected to the cluster. 
Support to announce 
DX, grab DX spot, 
move radio to the 
frequency of a DX 
spot, enter DX spot 
in the scanner. Tune 
your radio over the 
bands and let the 


DX spotting window find the spot that is 
closest in frequency. DX spots can be sorted 
by time, arrival sequence, frequency, 
callsign of spotter, and priority/callsign; 
when you sort by priority, all new countries 
are grouped together, followed by new 
mode/band, etc. Buttons available to select 
stored packet commands via mouse. TCP/ 
IP access of worldwide cluster sites using 
the Internet. 

QSL management (outgoing). 
DX4WIN can check your log for outstand- 
ing or unanswered QSLs and mark those 
QSOs again to send follow-up QSL. You can 
remove multiple QSLs to the same station 
for the same band and mode. Mark addi- 
tional QSLs going to the same manager or 
station for efficient mailing. Change method 
of routing (buro, direct, etc.) based on 
availability of a QSL buro. 

QSL managers. When entering a QSL 
manager for a station, the information is 
stored in the QSL manager database. An 
editor is provided to make changes to the 
QSL manager database. Over 1,000,000 
QSL managers can be stored. 

RTTY. RTTY terminal window using 
programmable function keys for sending of 
"canned" exchanges and information which 
can contain callsigns, reports, etc. If not 
being used for RTTY, window may be used 
for secondary packet connection. 

World map. World map-window graphi- 
cally represents bearing and path from user's 
QTH to DX countries, and is updated by 
spots as they are received. Show propaga- 
tion based upon received spots, with user 
definable parameters. Shows shadow and 
gray line. Various map projections includ- 
ing great circle projection centered on your 
QTH.^oom in on an area, and get coordi- 
nates and distance to a location based on 
the mouse position. 

Now, back to the newly integrated PSK3 1 
function. I got a chance to try it out in the 
October 2000 PSK31 Rumble, and was re- 
ally impressed. I have been using Zakanaka, 
and while having the ability to monitor 
three QSOs at once is a fun feature that is 
not present in DX4WIN, I found that be- 
ing able to do the logging without switch- 
ing programs and manually entering all the 
database Fields is a HUGE plus. 

Fig. 1 shows the basic functionality of 
the PSK31 window in DX4WIN, which 
contains the following features: 

1 . Waterfall display with zoom function 
(lower right). 

2. Spectrum display with frequency mark- 
ers (lower left). 

3. Dual receive window. 

Continued on page 50 

48 73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 

Rduertisers' Index 

R.5.# page 

AEA 23 

Alinco CV2 

All Electronics Corp 11 

Alltronics 51 

Am-Com, Inc 48 

16 Astron Corporation 2 

42 Bilal Company 21 

168 Buckmasier Publishing 24 

56 Buckmasier Publishing 52 

99 Communication Concepts 29 
* Communications 

Electronics, Inc 5 

10 Communications 

Specialists, Inc 27 

R,S.# page 

D &L Antenna Supply 27 

13 Doppler Systems 51 

• East Coast 

Amateur Radio 13 

E-ZHang 33 

Fair Radio Sales 29 

193 GGTE 55 

• Ham Ambassadors 6 

• Ham Mall 34 

Hamtronics, Inc 9 

42 Isotron 21 

242 Jan Crystals 60 

• Kenwood 

Communications Corp CV4 

R.S.# ■ page R.S. 

86 MFJ Enterprises 7 

86 MFJ Enterprises 15 

• Michigan Radio 49 

16D Microcomputer * 

Concepts 21 34 

193 Morse Tutor Gold 55 • 

• MultiFAX 46 254 

■ Omega Sales 28 • 

• Omega Sales 52 • 

• Omega Sales 56 • 

Radcomm Radio 55 • 

Radio Book Shop 14 

Radio Book Shop 27 

Radio Book Shop 34 * 

# page 

Radio Book Shop 43 

Radio Book Shop 52 

Radio Book Shop 62 

Radio Book Shop 63 

Ramsey Electronics 3 

RF Parts 21 

Ross Distributing 24 

Scrambling News 52 

Sescom, Inc 43 

SGC 31 

The Ham Contact 57 

Universal Radio 17 

W5YI Group 52 

Yaesu CV3 

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Fe'g. 2. Here is the main view of DX4WIN. 

The DK Forum 

continued from page 48 

4. Intelligent text selection in receive window 
to set fields in QSO window. 

5. 16 macros that use text form current 
QSO (bottom button bar). 

6. Type ahead for transmit window. 

7. 25 seconds playback. 

I mentioned that the PSK3 1 window op- 
erates within the main logging program. 
Take a look at Fig. 2. DX4WIN gives you 
the ability to arrange a number of functional 
windows on your screen, depending upon 
the resolution and size of your monitor. Fig, 
2 shows the layout of my operating 
position's screen. In the upper left is the 
window that is used to enter the data into 
the log. The mode and band data come di- 
rectly via CAT from my FT-1000D (I also 
have an FT-847 in my office connected to a 
long wire with DX4WIN running on my 
business PC). I also have windows that dis- 
play DX spots off the packet cluster (bot- 
tom left), a few of the most recent entries in 
my log, and displays of calls, countries, and 
zones worked. The PSK3 1 window is mini- 
mized and shaped to fit in the lower right, 
allowing me to monitor in real time. All I 
need to do is hit the maximize button on the 
upper right-hand corner of the PSK3 1 win- 
dow, and it is back to full screen as shown 
in Fig. 1. Neat, huh? 

If you are interested in this program, you 
can drop a line to Rapidan Data Systems, 
or you can download a demo version from 
their Web page and try it out for yourself. Here 
is the contact info: Rapidan Data Systems, 
50 73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 

P.O. Box 41 8, Locust Grove VA 22508; tele- 
phone: (540) 785-2669; fax: (540) 786- 
0658; E-mail: [sales@dx4win. com] or 
[]; Web: [littp://]. 

Just listening — an emphasis on 
the joy of SWLing 

I haven't had much time to do much short- 
wave listening these days, but I did track 
down some information that I had seen on 
one of the SWL newsgroups. Just a few days 
ago I happened upon a discussion on one shortwave newsgroup concerning 
military operations on 1 1 175 kHz. 

Steve Lawrence, in Omaha NE, sent a 
message to the group that unraveled the 
mystery of what was being heard on that 
frequency. In his message he said, "[it is] 
the United States Air Force Strategic Com- 
mand Primary Frequency coming from, 
practically, my backyard here in Omaha (the 
town of Elkhorn, actually, is where the gi- 
ant antennas are located). The detail which 
operates this huge network is based over at 
Offutt Air Force Base, also a couple of miles 
from here. They use this frequency to com- 
municate with aircraft . . . mostly strategic 
bombers, but many aircraft can turn up here 
at any given time." 

Tom Sevan N2UHC, in his reply to one 
of litis thread's contributors, provided some 
additional information concerning some of 
the operational terms heard on the fre- 
quency: "It gets interesting. The 'delta, 
bravo, victor...' you refer to is probably an 
Emergency Action Message (BAM) sent out 
to all listening stations. It is a coded message 

which could mean just about anything, in- 
cluding 'launch nuclear missiles.' The Hur- 
ricane Hunter aircraft (look for callsign 
TEAL) use this frequency when chasing 
hunicanes. I have heard a few interviews from 
ABC's Nightline program talking to Hurricane 
Hunter aircraft commanders. This is probably 
the most listened to utility frequency, and for 
good reason. Just keep an ear peeled." 

Embedded in one of the responses to this 
thread was a reference to a Web page where 
infoimation concerning 11175 kHz, as well as 
numerous other frequencies, may be found. It 
is the Web page of Hie Worldwide Utility News 
Club, aka WUN. Quoting from the WUN Web 
page, here is a brief description of their 
organization, and the services they provide. 

"With several losses of information avail- 
able to utility listeners, efforts went into 
creating a continuing source of utility in- 
formation, QSLs, and logs. After discus- 
sions with many utility fans via E-mail, The 
or WUN (Like we're #1), was bom January 
of 1995, with its first newsletter sent to 
members as the February edition. The WUN 
is the world's first electronic club, and there 
are no dues or fees from us for joining. You 
are welcome and encouraged to join in the 
conversation regarding the "nonbroadcast" 
or utility stations that may be found in any 
mode under 30 MHz. WUN also sends a 
monthly electronic newsletter. To become 
a member of WUN, you join by simply 
sending E-mail to the WUN list server at: 
[], with the following 
command in the BODY of your E-mail 
message: subscribe wun. 

"The WUN list server is also used for 
posting hot utility news and general discus- 
sion -of UTE-related topics. Those sub- 
scribed on WUN will receive the newsletter 
and be able to exchange info, logs, and late- 
breaking "hot" logs with everyone on the 
list. The WUN monthly newsletter consists 
of the following columns: 1 . International 
Civil Aero. 2. Nautical News. 3. Digital 
Review. 4. Logs Column. 5. The QSL Re- 
port. 6. Utility Round-Up. 7. Military News- 
reel. 8. Numbers and Oddities. 9. Product 

"WUN has an Official Club WWW page 
site: []. The 
WWW pages contain back issues of the 
WUN Newsletter along with other utility 
files, links, etc. Any questions, or for more 
information, please contact Jason Berri, 
WUN Web Page administrator at" 

And now the news ... 

I just got an E-mail from Bill W7TVF. 
Here is what he said: 

"Hi Fellows, 

"W7TVF will be active from Niue Island again from Novem- 
ber 19th through December 10th as ZK2VF. Operation will be 
from 160 meters to 6 meters. Priority will be given to Europe, 
Africa, and South America on 160 and 80 meters during their 
grayline. Plenty of time will be spent on all bands for anyone 
who needs a QSO. An 847 will be used as a beacon on six meters 
all the time that I am active so if six opens I will be QRT on HF 
until six mtrs closes. The Six Meter Beacon will be on 50.115. 
I will be operating from the 'Beautiful Namukulu Motel' with 
Alpha power and good antennas. The QSL info is the same as 
last time, which is direct with S ASE and return postage to Bill 
Dawson W7TVF, P.O . Box 4049, Pahrump NV 8906 1 . No donations 
are needed. 

"Again I would like to thank ail of you for the extremely courte- 
ous operating by almost everyone and that made it a pleasure for 
me also. The pile-ups were big but easy for me to operate because 
of your help. I will try to create some even bigger pile-ups this 
time. Thanks, and CU from Niue Island in November. Bill Dawson 

And I received this from Charly K4VUD on October 4th (I don't 
know at this moment if he found the extra crew member he needed. 
Oh, the joy of trying to publish date-sensitive material on two- 
month production schedule!): 

"As of today, two hams are slated to arrive in A5 on December 
1 , 2000. The lkW xmit power is OK'd (with an extra fee ! ! !). I will 
likely try to xmit below the American phone band and listen way 
up into the Am. phone band ... that way, jammers must also violate 
FCC rules. 

"Likely will start out on the usual DX freqs and if a pile-up 
develops, then announce the QSY freq. Will definitely try the 40 
meter SSB split and listen up in Am. phone band. Will use odd- 
numbered freqs on 40m. Will call on the hour on 160m during 
likely openings. 

"If we can get a third ham on this trip, ull three of us will save 
some money on Bhutan's tourist fees for groups of 3 or more. Come 
on, just need one more daring adventurer for this trip! 

"73, Charly K4VUD, applying for A52UDH!" 

Vox populi 

For months, I have been threatening (is that the right, word?) to 
introduce this segment of the DX Forum. The intention all along 
has been to provide a printed venue for the personal opinions of 
members of the DX community. The only requirement I have is 
that folks behave themselves, and be respectful of others. 

I received some inputs early on, but none of those folks read 
the rules, or they just plain didn't care who they offended. But 
recently, some considerate DXers began sending in comments 
that were obviously well thought out. In every case they re- 
quested anonymity, and as I promised from the beginning that I 
would respect an individual's right to privacy, I am withholding 
their identity. 

The big-ticket item thus far has to do with the comprehen- 
sive changes in the licensing requirements that were enacted 
on April 15th of this year by the FCC. They primarily have to 
do with DXers' concerns over the reduction of code speed require- 
ments, and what impact that may have on the pursuit and enjoy- 
ment of DX. One DXer from the Phoenix metropolitan area in 
Arizona wrote, "I am one of those luckless hams who gave in 
to his XYL and purchased a home in a deed-restrictive commu- 
nity. Consequently, I operate with clandestine antennas, and only 
at 200 watts to boot. I have had reasonable success in working DX 


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on CW, but alas I have a rough time punch- 
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52 73 Amateur Radio Today * December 2000 

going to fall asleep just waiting for him to 
Finish calling me. I keep hearing more and 
more of these ponderously slow operators 
showing up down there. Why don't they stay 
in the Novice band where they belong until 
they can learn to keep up with the rest of 

Interesting comments, eh? Let's take the 
first comment first. I can understand the 
concern that one might have about losing 
access to DX stations via what many feel is 
the most power-efficient, noise-tolerant 
mode of communication. It is true that some 
recent DXpeditions were undertaken with 
the expressed intent of being an SSB-only 
event. However, having been on the other 
end of pile-ups at BY1QH and 4Z85TA, I 
can tell you that my endurance runs much 
higher on CW than on SSB. If my experi- 
ence is at all in common with other DXers' 
on the receiving end of a pile-up, I think we 
are safe in assuming that CW will always 
be thought of as a required, if not preferred, 
mode of communications in their 
DXpedition planning. 

And as for my fellow moss-covered DXer 
from Seattle, GET A LIFE! ! It is clear to 
me that there is no more effective tool for 
marginalizing C W in the years to come than 
the harboring of a parochial attitude toward 
those who are obviously trying to gain ex- 
posure to the CW operator's craft, and are 
striving to increase their skills. I will con- 
fess to you that I, too, find it difficult to carry 
on a conversation with someone operating 
below 20 wpm, but darn it, I am very much 
encouraged by the fact that they are out 
there. It gives me hope that folks who en- 
joy "pounding the brass" will still populate 
post-April 15th ham radio. If anything, we 
who can rip along at a brisk pace, and carry 
on an enjoyable high-speed conversation, or 
run high Q-rates in a contest, owe it to our- 
selves to mentor and encourage those who 
have recently-gained access to that portion 
of the spectrum. 

Well, there you have some opinions, and 
mine as well. What do you think? I hope 
that this will stimulate some lively dis- 
cussion on both sides of any given issue. 
I look forward to hearing from you. Your 
opinions, regardless of whether or not they 
are agreeable, are very much appreciated. 

Pulling the big switch 

So much for this month's offering. I hope 
the opinions expressed in Vox Populi didn't 
cause you to take offense. They weren't in- 
tended to, at least not by me. Oh, and how 
could I forget? Have a blessed Hanukkah, 
and a very merry Christmas this year, so 
until January ... 73 and good DX! E£d 

On the Go 

Mobile, Portable and Emergency Operation 

Steve Nowak KE8YN/A 

1011 Peacock Ave. NE 

Palm Bay FL 32907-1 371 

Who Needs "ER"? HR Responds to 
a Real Emergency! 

It always amazes me that no matter how well prepared we believe we are, emergencies are so 
full of surprises. Of course an emergency is difficult to prepare for since by its very definition it 
is unexpected. While I pride myself on planning ahead and thinking about many of the possible 
contingencies, recently I had an experience that reminded me how surprises are the only thing 
on which you can truly count. 

Last Friday afternoon I was sitting in a 
meeting at the hospital. It being the 
afternoon and this being Florida, there was 
a thunderstorm in progress. The rain was 
coming in sheets and there was significant 
electrical activity. I noticed that the delay 
between the lightning flash and the thun- 
derclap was often quite short but at the time 
that didn't raise any particular concerns. 
When the lights flickered, everyone noticed 
since that shouldn't happen in a hospital. 
Hospitals are required to have power fed 
from several directions as well as have gen- 
erators that automatically activate in a power 
loss. There were several comments around 
the table as to how unusual it was to see the 
lights flicker. A few moments later every 
department director's pager went off at the 
same time with the text message that the 
hospital's entire telephone system had been 
disrupted- Obviously the lightning strikes 
had been even closer than we had expected. 
The bottom line was that the entire com- 
munications system within the hospital was 

As you might expect, in a hospital, a dis- 
ruption in communications is a serious prob- 
lem. A patient who needs an x-ray or to be 
set up for a blood transfusion or who needs 
some other assistance usually does not have 
the option of waiting. Add to this the fact 
that in this day and age there is a greater 
emphasis on working efficiendy, so most 
departments do not have people sitting at a 
desk waiting to answer the telephone. In- 
stead, staff members are expected to be at the 
bedside performing patient care duties and are 
able to be contacted by digital pager. There 
are backup systems, of course, including the 

internal telephone system, overhead voice 
paging, and messages through the hospital 
computer system. With these redundant 
backup systems, it is normally quite diffi- 
cult to disrupt key services. This time, 
though, all of the regular systems were 
impacted in some fashion. 

Because we always expect the worst, 
there are additional layers of redundancy, 
which provide additional protection even in 
such extreme cases. Some telephones are 
connected to lines that become direct tines 
if the central switch is impacted. Several of 
these are assigned to the main telephone 
numbers for the hospital for incoming calls. 
Other direct lines are available as well. 
Many fax machines are intentionally con- 
nected to dedicated lines and are equipped 
with handsets so that they can provide voice 
communications in an emergency. Finally 
key departments such as security and plant 
operations have two-way radios, and key per- 
sonnel have cell phones that are certified so 
as not to interfere with patient monitoring 

With all this redundancy, Murphy still 
showed up early on, and his famous law took 
effect almost immediately. The lightning 
strike had not only affected the telephone 
system, but also the overhead paging sys- 
tem. The digital paging system could not 
be accessed as readily as normal. The same 
lightning bolt that had caused the commu- 
nications problem had also eliminated the 
air conditioner for the computer room, so 
the hospitalwide computer system which 
normally handles patient orders and depart- 
ment-to-department messages had to be 
taken off line. Finally, hospitals have alarm 

burtons which are used to summon the team 
which responds to a cardiac arrest. Obvi- 
ously there can be no doubts about the reli- 
ability of this system and the ability to 
dispatch the team that responds. 
_The hospital immediately implemented 
its backup plans. Two-way radios were re- 
trieved from their regular users and imme- 
diately issued to those people who would 
be needed in a patient emergency such as a 
Code Blue. Hospital employees and Hospi- 
tal Auxiliary volunteers were assigned to act 
as messengers to carry requests from the 
nursing units to departments such as labo- 
ratory and respiratory therapy. The 
healthcare professionals on their end began 
to prioritize their needs and did an outstand- 
ing job of restricting communications to 
critical issues only. The cell phones were 
used to contact the technical employees who 
were not already on site and advise them of 
the need for their presence. Calls were also 
made to outside services and suppliers 
needed to begin repair of the main systems. 

The direct phone lines worked, but they 
were in almost constant use for communi- 
cations with the outside world and did not 
provide a good mechanism for department- 
to-department communications. The fax 
machines quickly became occupied, as the 
nurses on the patient floors sent faxes to 
pharmacy, lab, x-ray, etc., with orders for 
patient needs. 

Fortunately, the hospital has had a long- 
standing relationship with the Indian River 
Amateur Radio Club in central Brevard 
County. IRARC has a repeater located on 

Continued on page 62 
73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 53 

Homing in 

Radio Direction Finding 

Joe Moell P.E. K0OV 

P.O. Box 2508 

Fullerton CA 92837 




For a dozen years, I have told you chat southern California is the "center of excellence" in mobile 
hidden transmitter hunting. To hear them talk, you would think that hams in the shadow of 
Disneyland and Tinseltown had invented this sport, which is usually called T-hunting or 
foxhunting. They didn't, but they certainly have led the way in promoting it for a couple of 

When it comes to clever hiders, they're 
hard to beat. I have written of trans- 
mitters they have placed in shopping carts, 
telephone books, fire hydrants and more. It's 
all in a day's (or night's) fun for them. 

But there's no shortage of clever hams else- 
where in the country (and the world), Hams 
farther north in the Golden State are also mak- 
ing the most of radio direction finding (RDF) 

From San Francisco and Silicon Valley 
to the great farmlands eastward, hams in the 
Bay Area converge to test their RDF skills 
four times a month. On the first Saturday 
evening, they gather on a hilltop in Fremont 
to hunt two transmitters. One is intended 

Photo A. Paul Shinn prefers his Doppler 
RDF set, but gets out to take bearings from 
his truck bed when the signal is weak. 
54 73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 

primarily for beginners. There are no mile- 
age or time limits for this "easy" fox. The other 
one is intended for experienced hunters, who 
are required to find this "hard" fox first, 
after which they can look for the other one. 
On the first Sunday of the month at 8 a.m., 
there's a hunt at the Livermore Swap Meet. 
It's a great way to attract newcomers. Then 
the Central Valley Hunt takes place on the 
second Saturday, The third Saturday of the 
month is a "hider's choice" event. Hunt- 
masters have several sets of rules and bound- 
aries to choose from. One is the Pack-A- 
Lunch Hunt, which starts at 10 a.m. in 
Pleasanton and often involves several foxes 
and creative scoring. 

Woven by the Web 

The primary scribe for Bay Area T-hunt- 
ers is Jim Sakane KD6DX. Jim is a lock- 
smith in Fremont who discovered the joys 
of RDF about four years ago. His Web site 
has megabytes of photos, plus play-by-play 
commentary on past hunts from the point 
of view of hider or hunter, whichever role 
he played at the time. 

Over the years. I have corresponded by 
E-mail with KD6DX, plus Mike Allison 
KN6ZT, Bonnie Crystal KQ6XA. and oth- 
ers who are promoting RDF contesting in 
that part of California. When I mentioned 
that a weekend vacation would take me to 
nearby Stockton, an offer to ride on a hunt 
was quickly forthcoming. 

My host on this balmy September evening 
was Paul Shinn, a broadcast engineer who 
participates in hidden transmitter hunts to 
sharpen the RDF skills he needs for track- 
ing down interference problems related to 
his work. He has also done lots of experi- 
menting with Doppler antenna switchers. 

That weekend's event was a Bay Hunt. 
Hunters could start anywhere, and the trans- 
mitter could be anywhere within ten miles of 
the shore of the San Francisco Bay, or to the 
first ridgeline. There was no formal scoring. 

On a Bay Hunt, coordination among the 
hunters on a 440 MHz repeater is encour- 
aged, This isn't a fully cooperative all-hunt- 
ers-versus-the-hider hunt where everyone 
shares bearings to see how quickly someone 
can find the fox. That is done some places 
as a practice exercise forTocating stations 
in distress. 

On this hunt, the cooperation is merely 
to help everyone get started. Since the 
boundary is large and hunting teams are dis- 
persed at the start, this is important. This 
time it was even more so. as- hunters deter- 
mined that the signal was quite weak ev- 
erywhere. Was the T in a very low spot? 
Flea-powered? Covered up in some way? 

Since I had arrived in Stockton at the last 
minute, we were late getting started. The 
first piece of information we needed was 
the hunt frequency, which we couldn't get 
until we had driven over Altamont Pass and 
gotten into coverage area of the 70cm re- 
peater. Then we heard reports from other 
hunters that the only signals significantly 
above the noise were coming from East Palo 
Alto near the Dumbarton Bridge. 

Paul decided to take Highway 92 and get 
to the west side of the Bay as soon as pos- 
sible. "Since the freeways are lined with 
huge sound walls on the east side of the bay, 
I took the San Mateo bridge across the wa- 
ter to the west side," Paul explained. "That 
let me take Highway 101 southward and not 
be surrounded by walls." 

As we crossed the San Mateo Bridge, we 
still had no indication on the Doppler, but 
Paul hopped out as soon as we reached the 

Photo B. It can't be in the water, so it must be on the bridge! As- 
sessing the situation are (left to right) Dave Mclntyre KG6ACD, 
Paul Shinn, and Charlie Skiles W6RMR. 

west bank and took a beam bearing from 
his truck bed (Photo A). Sure enough, there 
was the signal, coming up the bay from the 
southeast. That was the direction of south- 
bound Highway 101, so off we went. 

When we arrived in East Palo Alto, there 
was still no strong Doppler indication. Paul 
turned off onto highway 84 and stopped to 
take another bearing. Now the signal was 
to the east. According to Paul, "I knew that 
the farthest east I could go on my bearing 
line was the Dumbarton Bridge, since any 
farther took me into the water or back to 
the east side of the bay." 

At that moment, another team drove up. 
They said they hadn't found it. We looked 
out at the bay and the bridge, but didn't see 
any clues (Photo B). 

Based on the convergence of bearings, we 
had to be close, so we headed for the bridge. 
Just before the toll plaza was a turnout that 
went down by the water. We took it, drove a 
short distance, and the signal suddenly became 
very strong. It's here! 

The ammunition-can transmitter was at 
the top of a ten- foot bridge support column, 
just under the roadbed (Photo C). Now it 
was time to examine the equipment of the 
hunters that who already arrived, and to wait 
for some more (Photo D). 

Early warning 

Dopplers are the "weapon of choice" for 
most mobile T-hunters in the Bay Area. 
Yagis, quads, and other gain antennas seem 
to be limited to initial bearings and on-foot 
use at the end of the road. That's in sharp 
contrast to southern California, where 4-el- 
ement yagis and quads are sticking through 
inch-and-a-half-diameter holes on the roofs 

of almost every 
hunting vehicle, 
swinging back and 
forth as they go 
down the road. If a 
Los Angeles area 
hunter uses a Dop- 
pler on VHF or 
UHF, it's either in 
addition to a beam 
or necessitated by 
the need for 
"stealthiness" when 
tracking jammers 
and bootleggers. 

I'm sure that 
several kinds of 
Dopplers are in use 
in the Bay area, but 
every one I saw at 
this event was a 
MicroFinder by 
AHHA! Solutions of Livermore. Rich 
Harrington KN6FW of AHHA! was one of 
the hunters, so I took another opportunity 
to ask him when it would be appropriate for 
"Homing In" to review this .product. 
KN6FW and KN6ZT developed 
MicroFinder Version 1 back in 1997. Itwas 
so popular that all stock was sold out in a 
few months. The Version 2 units went even 
faster. Let's hope that Version 3 will come 
out soon and there will be plenty on the 
shelf, so that I can finally bring a review to 

Another important item of T-hunting 
equipment, used by Paul and most other Bay 
Area teams, is a handie-talkie tuned to the 

hunt frequency with the antenna removed. 
Placed on the dashboard, this receiver gives 
early warning when the signal is strong 
enough to indicate that "You are here!" 

That helped KD6DX and his partner Greg 
Ottria KE6PTP, who started this hunt from 
a hill near Eden Hospital in Castro Valley. 
Greg's bearing indication on the strong sig- 
nal at the hilltop turned out to be very accu- 
rate. When they left the hill, the signal dropped 
into the noise. It remained unintelligible until 
they had followed their initial bearing to the 
east end of the Dumbarton Bridge. Their 
Doppler got intermittent bearings through 
the noise, however. 

Jim wrote that as Greg drove west on the 


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73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 55 

Photo €. Hitlers Andy Mascsak WD6CJK tlefti and Tony Flusche 
AB6BR pose with their low-powered transmitter under the 
Dumbarton Bridge. 

Photo D. After the hunt, participants review their hearings and 
swap stories. On the right is Rich Harrington KN6FW, hardware 
designer of the MicroFinder. 

Dumbarton Bridge, he commented that they 
were elevated and ihe signal was weak, so 
the transmitter must be very low to the 
ground and still very far away. "Just as I 
finished saying it. the signal rose rapidly and 
then my 'You are here' radio blasted its 
speaker. I was so busy wondering what was 
happening that only moments later I looked 
at the Doppler and it indicated to the rear. 
Greg found a service road exit a few hun- 
dred yards ahead. Wc took it and followed 
our Doppler lo the transmitter." 

Later, over some really good pizza. I 
learned about many more dastardly Bay 
Area hiding deeds. One was the Furby Hunt. 
put on by Bill Dunbar N6IMS and Art 

The Gordon West 
Study Guides 

Examination Test 

Questions & Answers 

for General Class and Extra Class 

with explanations of the answers 

General Class 

Plus $3.50 S&H 

Extra Class 


Plus $3.50 S&H 

Omega Sales 

P.O. Box 376 

Jaffrey, NH 03452 

Samuelson W6VV. That's what the signal 
sounded like at the start point — a Furby 
toy chatting away more-or-less continuously 
into what appeared lo be a voice- activated 
transmitter. Bui was it just one? 

N6IMS called the hunters by radio to tell 
them that the special rules of this hunt de- 
manded that each team independently de- 
termine how many transmitters there were 
and then find them all with least elapsed 
mileage to win. 

Jim Sakane's Web narrative tells how he 
used the multipara quality indicator on his 
Doppler set to deduce thai there were two 
transmitters chatting in a Furbish "dia- 
logue." I suspect that others did somcdiing 
similar, unless they had an RDF antenna 
hooked lo a receiver with S-meter and could 
ascertain some difference in signal strength 
or direction of the two Furby foxes. Careful 
viewing of the Doppler led Jim to conclude 
that the bearing for one was 70 degrees and 
the other was 95 degrees. 

As it turned out, the targets were four 
miles apart in separate new-construction 
areas, one just north of Interstate 580 and 
the other in Pleasanton. How did two Furbys 
hold a QSO? Jim explains: "N6IMS re- 
moved the brains from both Furbys and 
carefully placed them into an electrically 
nurturing controller box at Site 2. Dorao's 
voice was connected directly lo the Site 2 
transmitter. Lulu's voice went to a UHF link 
transmitter that communicated with the 
body of Lulu at Site I." 

Since both brains were in one controller 
box, they were able to play and talk to each 
other. Furbys put themselves to sleep after 
a short time, so Bill added circuitry to pro- 
vide pseudo-separation and reintroduclion 
every 30 seconds. 

There seems to he a son of informal con- 
test in the bay Area lo see who can make 
the smallest effective fox transmitters. They 
have miniaturized the Montreal Fox Con- 
troller with surface-mount components to 
near postage stamp size. (See "Homing In" 
in the April 1 998 issue for a full description 
'of that project.) The winner for smallest fox 
at the pizza parlor that night was Henry 
Schroedcr KF6PCE, whose transmitter, an- 
tenna, battery, and controller fit inlo a 35mm 
film canister. 

If you don't want lo drive a long way to 
the starting point, have the starling point 
close to you. Thai's what Paul Shinn did, 
beginning last May. The posi-hunt barbe- 
cue thai he promised was enough incentive 
to bring five vehicles to Stockton for the first 
one. That hunt featured two transmitters 10 
kHz apart, one supposed to be easy and the 
other hard. The hard one turned out to be 
extra difficult because an antenna connec- 
tion failed. Only one team heard it and 
found it. Paul has just begun a Web site 
to promote these Central Valley hunts. 

Jim's and Paul's Web sites have many 
more tales and photos of Bay Area T-hunts. 
plus information on how you can join the 
fun when you're in the area. Complete rules. 
maps, and upcoming hum schedules are 
there. You can jump to these sites by link 
from my "Homing In" site. 

Give a hoot 

Is your listening "for the birds"? We cer- 
tainly hope so. This is the third year that 
"Homing In" readers are helping Canadian 
researchers find out what happens to juve- 
nile burrowing owls that hatch in 
Saskatchewan and Alberta during summer 

56 73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 

*■-,*<;'- - 

• '•■ 


: . ' 




- - 






Photo E. To see burrowing owls during the 
day, look down, not up. 

months (Photo E). These birds, which are 
classed as "endangered" in Canada and 
"threatened" elsewhere, head south in late 
September and October to parts unknown, 
possibly southern Texas and northern 

Unlike other Strigifonnes, it's unusual to 
see a burrowing owl in a tree. They prefer 
to take over abandoned badger or ground 
squirrel burrows in grasslands (Photo F). 
They can also be found near urban areas, 
using artificial burrows such as pipes, cul- 
verts, and piles of rock or concrete. They 
usually stand near the entrance of their home 
during the day and fly a short distance away 
if approached. At night, they go airborne 
for long periods, looking for food. 

About 200 Canadian-hatched owls were 
banded last summer, and 70 of those were 
fitted with miniature VHF transmitters. In 
previous years, attempts to follow the birds 
southward with small aircraft have been 
unsuccessful, due to weather conditions that 
kept the planes from flying, but not the 

That's where you come in. Hams and 
scanner listeners are needed to carefully 
tune from 172 to 173 MHz for these radio 
tags. Monitors in Texas (particularly the 
Corpus Christi area) are especially needed, 
but these birds might spend the winter any- 
where from southern California to Missis- 
sippi. Last winter, three hams (KC1QF, 
K5BL, and K5DXM) reported hearing sig- 
nals. Farthest west was Tucson, Arizona, and 
easternmost was Fort Smith, Arkansas. The 
banded birds were not actually sighted, so it's 
possible that these signals were not actual 
owl tags. That's why even more monitor- 
ing hams are needed this year, preferably 
with RDF capability. 

Continued on page 62 


Photo F. Researchers want to know why. the burrowing owl population is decreasing. 
This one is using an infrared "peeper" camera on the end of a flexible shaft to look at 
hatchlings deep in a burrow. Her head is covered so that she can see the video monitor 
on her goggles. 



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It comes complete with a built in voltmeter, a wail charg- 
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most hand held radios at 5 watts for 2-4 weeks (depend- 
ing upon how long winded one is). It will a!so run a VHF, 
UHF, QRP or HF mobile radio, such as the loom 706 at 
100 watts. There are no hidden costs. All thai is required 
is a mobile power cord or a HT cigarette lighter adapter. 

The POWER STATION 2 provides 12V from two cigarette lighter outlets and has two recessed termi- 
nals for hardwiring. A set of metric wing nuts for use with the two terminals and jumper cables for 
charging small gel cells are also included. The POWER STATION 2 can be charged in an automo- 
bile in only 3 hours, or in the home in 8 hours. The charger will automatically shut off when the bat- 
tery is completely charged. In addition, The POWER STATION 2 may be charged with a solar panel 
(sold separately). Via The POWER STATION 2 AC input, a 5 watt or smaller panel may be used. In 
this case only, no charge controller is needed. Or any size panel with a charge controller may be uti- 
lized with the two recessed terminals. Therefore, The POWER STATION 2 may be charged even 
when it has only been slightly discharged (unlike Ni-Cads that have memory). The charging circuit 
uses voltage sensing circuitry. Other brands are tinned chargers, which always charge a battery a 
full cycle. If all that is needed is a partial charge, this damages a battery and shortens the life. The 
POWER STATION 2 has a voltmeter that indicates the state of charge of the battery, not worthless 
idiot tights that declare YOUR BATTERY IS NOW DEAD . The voltmeter can even be used to mea- 
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73 Amateur Radio Today » December 2000 57 



Low Power Operation 

Michael Bryce WB8VGE 

SunLight Energy Systems 

955 Manchester Ave. SW 

North Lawrence OH 44666 


Loose Ends 

This month, I plan to tie up some loose ends. We'll start with the small QRP bench power supply 
that was first shown last time. In the photos, you'll see my version. I've been working on this 
project for a week or so. There are some loose ends that need to be addressed on my version as well. 

As you can see. 1" vc managed to put the 
entire project into a very small box. I 
used 1/4-inch aluminum angle to hold the 
PC boards upright. The transformer fits into 
the space between the power supply PC 
board and the second PC board. 

Metering circuit 

Thai second PC board is a DPM panel 
meter driver. I used a surplus digital panel 
meter for adjusting the output of the sup- 
ply. These digital panel meters run from a 
nine-volt source. The surplus digital meter 
requires its own power supply. They can- 
not read their own supply voltage. The DPM 
panel meter driver provides the required iso- 
lated voltage at about 5 mA. More than 
enough for this surplus meter. I got my DPM 
from one of the surplus supplies at this 
year's Dayton Hamvention. You can pick 
up digital panel meters from just about any 
surplus parts dealer. 

An ordinary analog panel meter would 
have worked just as well. The downside in 
using an analog meter was trying to find one 
that would fit the cabinet I was building the 

Photo A. The QRP bench power supply. A 

knob, LED, and labels will finish up the 


58 73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 

supply in. Also, the price of a good analog 
meter would have been many times that 
what I paid for the surplus digital meter. 

I decided to go with more power than the 
LM3 1 7T regulator could supply. I ended up 
using the LM317K regulator. This regula- 
tor requires a large heat sink. In the photos, 
you can see the heat sink mounted on the 
regulator. By placing the regulator on the 
top side of the board, the heat produced will 
not affect the operation of the supply. The 
power supply PC board will handle either 
the TO-220-style 1 A regulator or the 
TO-3-stylc regulator. 

Because I will be using the supply for the 
workbench, I also added a ten-turn front- 
mounted pot. All I had in the j unk box were 
10k units, so to get the ten-turn pot to func- 
tion, I placed a 1.8k resistor across its ter- 
minals. This gives me a range of from about 
eight volls to a tad over 14.9 volts. The com- 
bination of ten-turn pot and fixed resistor 
are in place of the 5k PC board-mounted 
trimmer. Wires are run from the trimmer 
location to the ten-turn pot. 

Five-way binding posts round out the 
supply, Also in the works, I have been think- 
ing of placing a small 12-volt DC fan on 
the rear of the sup- 
ply. The fan would 
help cool the regula- 
tor during high cur- 
rent operation. Right 
now, this is only a 
thought, but since 
there is room on the 
back apron, why 

signed, all interconnections are done with 
AMP MTA cables and connectors. Of 
course, you can hardwire all the required 
wires to the PC board and bypass the fancy 
connectors. But after you have built several 
projects using MTA connectors, you'll never 
go back to hardwiring anything again. Since 
I did not get my supply wired in time, the 
photos show only several of the many wires 
connected. Also, to protect the supply, a fuse 
holder has yet to be installed on the rear 
apron. Since space is a bitlimited inside the 
case, I chose a fuse holder that used 5* x 
20-mm fuses. This leaves Tns-enough room 
to wire the primary side of the supply inside 
the confined space. 

Button things up 

By the time you read this, the QRP bench 
supply will be all finished and in use. As a 
matter of fact, during testing I used the sup- 
ply to operate a small QRP rig. It performed 
perfectly. I also use the supply to recharge 
batteries and even run the filaments on a 
tube base QRP rig! 

I hope you plan on building your own 
QRP bench supply. Remember that this is a 
project that just begs for you to tinker with 

Wiring the 

The way the PC 
board has been de- 

Photo B. Inside the QRP bench supply. The transformer is not shown. 

Photo C. Here is a view of the panel meter supply. The QRP 
bench PC board is mounted on edge. 

Photo D. Here's a view of the QRP bench supply, showing the 
large heal sink that holds the regulator IC. 

Photo E, Oh. my! Tubes? Yes, sitting someplace on 40 meters, this 
guy does about five watts output. It's got more bugs than a rain 
forest, but it does work! 

it. There's nothing cut into stone, and the 

circuit can easily be adapted to suit many 
needs. Also, the circuit is very forgiving, so 
you can make drastic changes in component 
values and the thing will still work! 

You can get the PC board from FAR Cir- 
cuits, 1 8N640 Field Ct., Dundee IL 601 18- 
9269. It's $4.50 plus $1 .50 shipping for up 

to three boards. Be 
sure you ask Tor the 
QRP bench power 

The Barney 

Barney KB8SKL 

and I work at the 
same steel mill. It's 
not unusual for us to 
spend an hour or so 
talking about ham 
radio at work. 
Barney is always 
building something, 
but usually moves 
on to another project 
before the last one 
he started gets fin- 

Since Barney is 
from the old school, 
you can ask him 
in and he'll tell you 
it's an IF amplifier 
used in TVs. He'll 
also tell you the 
pin out and the make 
and model of the TV 
chassis that uses 
them! I can spout off 
the pinouts of most 
ICs, but have to dig 
out the old hand- 
book when it comes 
to tubes. 

Now. having said 
all of that. Barney 
and I have been 
talking about put- 
sing a tube or two to 
work as a QRP 
transmitter. Barney 
talked me into using 
a 6GW8. "A power 
house of a tube" 
says Barney. 

Yup! That's what 
it's called. The Bar- 
ney project started 
out as a QRP trans- 
mitter that is based 
on a single audio tube. Designed for 80 and 
40 meters, the transmitter will produce 
about five watts. You only get a peak at the 
first design stage. I've laid out a PC board 
and I am in the middle of debugging the 
circuit. Looks like an interesting project. 

Next time, I dive into the Heath kit HW- 
9. After selling the one that I assembled, I 

finally picked up another set. We will do 
some modifications, look over some 
Hcathkit factory fixes, and align the radio, 
too. Should be a tot of fun, so stay tuned! 
Best holiday wishes to one and all! E2 


continued from page 8 

electronic devices — including your 2-meter HT 
and all other ham radio gear — remains in place. 

FYI. the aviation industry now differentiates 
between intentional and unintentional transmit- 
ting devices. Devices such as cellulartelephones, 
hand-held two-way radios, two or more inter-con- 
nected electronic games, or hand-held comput- 
ers that receive E-mail are considered to be 
intentional RF emitters and are totally banned at 
all times. Scanner radios and ham radio trans- 
ceivers fall into this category. On the other hand, 
most airlines permit unintentional RF emitters 
such as laptop computers or CD players to be 
used after a plane crosses through 10,000 feet. 

Thanks to David Black KB4KCH and Newsline^ 
Bill Pasternak WA6ITF, editor. M 

Neuer SHY DIE 

continued from page 6 

Wylder, Sewall, Steam, Ho^le, Jueneman, 
and so on, that I've reviewed in my Se- 
cret Guide to Wisdom book. After 
you've done some of my suggested read- 
ing, you may start wondering bow the 
spiritual establishment has been able to 
ignore so many important developments 
in their field of supposed expertise. Or. 
you may not. 

Myrote in life has developed into my 
being an iconoclast — a breaker of icons, 
challenging conventional or cherished 
beliefs and institutions as being false. 
And, since there seems to be no shortage 
of false conventional beliefs, I'm having 
a wonderful time letting the hot air out 
of the establishment panjandrums with 
my secret guides to health, wealth, and 


I'm enjoying all the political nonsense 
about the high cost of prescription drugs 
for the impoverished elderly. Will the 
micro-movement I'm starting to get 

people to stop poisoning themselves, and 
thus have no need to further enrich the 
pharmaceutical giants, pick up enough 
momentum to make today's prescription 
drugs as popular as bloodletting to cure 
If we can get people to stop abusing 

Continued on page 60 
73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 59 

Calendar euents 

Listings are free of charge as space permits. Please send us your Calendar Event two months in 
advance of the issue you want it to appear in. For example, if you want it to appear in the 
February 2001 issue, we should receive it by December 31. Provide a clear, concise summary 
of the essential details about your Calendar Event. 

JAN 20 

ST. JOSEPH, MO The Missouri Valley ARC 
and Ray-Clay ARC will sponsor their 10th 
annual Northwest Missouri Winter Hamfest, 8 
a.m,-3 p.m., January 20th, 2001. The event 
will take place at the Ramada Inn, 1-29 and 
Frederick Ave. (exit 47 on 1-29), in St. Joseph 
MO. Special room rates are available for 
Hamfest participants. Talk-in on 146.85 and 
444.925. VE exams, major exhibitors, and flea 
market all indoors. Free parking. Admission is 
$2 each, or 3 for $5 in advance; $3 each, or 2 
for $5 at the door. Pre- registration requests 
received after Jan. 5th will be held at Ihe door. 
Swap tables are $10 each for the first two 
tables. Commercial exhibitors welcome, write 
for details: Northwest Missouri Winter Hamfest, 
do Neal or Carlene Makawski WB0HNO/ 
KA0IKS, 3704 Meadowoak Lane, St. Joseph 
MO 64503. Tel. (816) 279-3406; E-mail 

JAN 21 

HAZEL PARK, Ml Hazel Park ARC'S 35th 
Annual Swap & Shop will be held at the Hazel 
Park High School, 23400 Hughes St., Hazel 

Park Ml, Open to the public 8 a.m.-2 p.m. 
Plenty of free parking. General admission is 
$5 in advance or at the door. Tables $14; 
reservations for tables must be received with 
check. No reservations by phone. Talk-in on 
146. 64(-), the DART repeater. For more info 
about the swap, tickets or table reservations, 
mail to HPARC, P.O. Box 368, Hazel Park Ml 


DEC 8-9 

BETHLEHEM, IN The Clark County ARC will 
operate W9WWI, 1 500Z Dec. 8th-2200Z Dec. 
9th, in celebration of the Christmas season. 
Operation will be on General 75, 40, and 20 
meters. QSL with an SASE for a certificate to 
CCARC, 1805 E. 8th St., Jeffersonville IN 


CINNAHINSON, NJ Join the Amateur Radio 
Lighthouse Society in their "Lighthouse 
Christmas Lights" special event, to promote 
public awareness of ham radio and 

lighthouses; to contribute to the recognition 
that lighthouses, lightships, and their keepers 
deserve; to foster camaraderie within the ham 
fraternity; and to provide fellowship amongst 
the members of the Amateur Radio Lighthouse 
Society. This is not a contest and you do not 
have to operate from a lighthouse in order to 
participate. Time: 0001 UTC Dec. 18th-2359 
UTC Jan. 2nd. Modes: Any and all! SSB, FM, 
PSK, SSTV, even light beams and 
semaphores. Repeater operation is also 
allowed. Bands: Any authorized bands 
including WARC. Suggested frequencies (±20 
kHz): 1.970, 3.970, 7270, 14.270, 21.370, 
28.370. Procedure: Call CQ Lighthouse or CO/ 
LH. Exchange: ARLS members give out call 
sign, ARLS membership number (see your 
newsletter mailing label for yours if you don't 
know it), your name, and state of province. 
Nonmembers give call sign, name and state 
or province. Awards: Certificate for working 
10 or more lighthouses/ships or 5 or more 
member ARLS stalions. Send log info to 
ARLS, P.O. Box 2178, Cinnaminson NJ 
08077 USA. Include S'ASE 9- x 12-inch 
envelope and $1 for return of certificate. 
Send questions via E-mail to Jim K2JXW at 
[]. 59 

Neiieh shv die 

continued from page 59 

their bodies, they'll stop going to their 
doctors and getting prescriptions for 
drugs to help them not feel the warning 
signals their bodies are sending as their 




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and Oscillators for: 


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lifestyle breaks down one part of their 
body after the other. 

One more thing. Every one of these 
drugs has side effects, and none of them 
is beneficial. 

As a result of my guest appearances 
on the Coasr-To-Coast show, listened to 
largely by insomniac seniors, all paying 
hefty prescription drug bills, where I've 
preached my stop-poisoning-yourself ser- 
mon, I've been getting endless letters, E- 
mails, and phone calls from people 
thanking me for changing their lives. 
They're drug-free at last and feeling 
better than they have in years. 

My message to them: Please spread 
the word. 


The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelli- 
gence, from my viewpoint, is a huge waste 
of time and money. But then, scientists are 
well known for their single-minded pursuit 
of their own special interests, while 
ignoring the work of others which might 
disturb their beliefs. 

In the case of ETs, there are lots of rel- 
evant-published materials which confirm 
beyond any reasonable doubt that ETs 
are here and have been for a very long 

Further, they're eons ahead of us in 
technology. They communicate by telepa- 
thy. They are able to travel through 
time — which helps explain how they can 
come here from zillions of miles away. 

UFO research expert Stanton Friedman, 
on the Coast-To-Coast show, called SETI 
a Silly Effort To Investigate. I like that. 

With millions of UFO sightings in 
countries all around the world, one has 
to be truly ignorant to reject the UFO 

But then, there's sure a lot of igno- 
rance going around. And some of these 
contraptions are bigger than a football 
field, and they've been seen up close. 

So why is the government keeping so 
silent on the subject? Why are they ignor- 
ing all Freedom of Information requests 
for government data? It doesn't take a 
genius to figure that one out. S 

60 73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 


Erratic (with Possible Sleigh Static) 

Jim Gray II 

P.O. Box 22799 

Juneau AK 99802 

The best description of propagation conditions for December is erratic. Sunspot numbers will 
continue to remain very high, and a fair amount of associated solar activity will continue to 
plague the HF operator, although 1 don't foresee any highly disruptive events. 

The poorest conditions are predicted for Christmas, from the 
24th-26th, while a lesser disturbance may be expected from 
the 16th 19th- Look for the first and last days of the month to be 
your best bets, with other fairly good periods occurring on the 7th- 
9th and 21st— 23rd. The rest of the month will be tedious at best, but 
patient listeners may occasionally find a surprising opening as 
conditions fluctuate. 

One of my dad's favorite tricks was to park his receiver on a 
seemingly unused frequency and wait for something to pop up while 
he caught up on his reading or correspondence. He was often able 
to snag a rare contact before the station became saturated with calls. 
Southern Asia and the Indian Ocean were among his favorite hunt- 
ing grounds, especially when the aurora wasn't too active. For daily 
auroral activity, look at the NOAA POES satellite'Web site at 

Band-by-Band Summary 

10/12 meters 

Good worldwide openings can be found from sunrise to just after 
sunset. Europe, the Middle East, and Africa are typically open until 
about noon. Central and South America should be open from mid- 
morning to late afternoon, but expect some noontime fading. Look for 
afternoon to early evening opportunities into the Pacific, Australia. 
and the Far East. A short-skip of 1,000-2,000 miles will be typical. 

15/17 meters 

Openings to most areas of the world can be found from sunrise 

December 2000 








1 G 

2 G 

3 G 

4 F 

5 F 

6 F 

7 F-G 

8 F-G 

9 G 

10 F-P 

11 F 

12 F 

13 F-P 

14 F 

15 F-G 

16 F-P 


18 P 

19 P 

20 F 

21 F-G 

22 G 

23 G 

24 F-P 


26 F-P 

27 F 

28 F-G 

29 G 

30 G 

31 G 

to early evening. Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East typi- 
cally peak around mid-moming with South Africa coming in just a 
bit later. Early afternoon is best for Central and South America, 
but they can be worked from late morning to early evening. The 

Continued on page 62 




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73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 61 


continued from page 61 

Pacific and Asia arc typically bcsl in the 

late afternoon or early evening. Short-skip 
distances average about 1,000 miles. 

20 meters 

Worldwide DX is workable just about 
around the clock — even low power stations 
can find strength here. Peaks typically oc- 
cur for a lew hours after sunrise, from late 
afternoon into early evening, and again just 
before midnight. Try Europe and Africa in 
late afternoon. Central and South America 
in the evening, and westward into the Pa- 
cific from before midnight until sunrise. 
Expect a 500-1.000 mile short-skip during 
the day and 1,500-2.000 miles at night. 

34/40 meters 

Daytime openings should not be over- 
looked, but these bands are definitely best 
after dark. Europe and other areas to the east 
can be worked in the early evening while 
Central and South America arc pretty much 
always open throughout the hours of dark- 
ness. The Pacific and Far East begin build- 
ing around midnight and peak before 
sunrise. 1 .000-2,000 mile short-skip is typi- 
cal after dark while 1,000 miles is typical 
during the day. 

80/160 meters 

Worldwide DX may be observed from 
local sunset until local sunrise. Europe, Af- 
rica, and the Middle East start to build after 
sunset and peak before midnight. Other 
parts of the world can be worked from mid- 
night until sunrise. Atmospheric noise on 
these bands should steadily decrease 
throughout December since most tropical 
storm activity will have subsided in most 
regions of the world except between Aus- 
tralia and French Polynesia. Activity on 40 
meters is a clue that these bands might be 
open. Short-skip is usually from 1 .500- 
2,000 miles. Happy Holidays! H 

Angel Voices 

continued from page 36 

implement. There wasn't any way pos- 
sible for me to have cut the rope as I 
stood near the top of the tower. And we 
had both checked the rope before I had 
climbed up on the lower. 

"Tell mc again what the voice told 
you, Bill," Jerry said. 
62 73 Amateur Radio Today ' December 2000 

Very carefully, I explained how each 
lime the voice had called out to me 
from a few feet away and up in the sky. 

"That's it," Jerry said. "We're 
through for the day. Don't bother to go 
back up there, leave it. We'll do this 
another time. Here, hold the rope so I 
can wrap a few turns of electrical tape 
around it so it won't pull apart." 

The ends of the rope were still flush 
with each other, except for the Utile 
strand of hemp. Both ends of the rope 
were clean, not ragged. 

Both of us started asking questions 
back and forth. "It's just amazing," I 

"Who was the voice you heard up 
above you. Bill? And what could have 
possibly cut this rope so cleanly?" 
Jerry asked. 

He stood there and looked at me, and 
I looked al him. 

Jerry said. "Let's put all this gear 
away and then go to your house - — I 
want to show this to your folks." And 
that's what we did. When my parents 
saw the rope and heard our story, they 
loo were amazed. 

Jerry finally finished tuning his 
beam with the help of another ham 
friend, who had a climber's belt. Look- 
ing back now over all those years gone 
by. I am stil! in wonder about the 
events that happened that day. because 
in the ensuing years they have hap- 
pened again several limes, though not 
in connection with amateur radio. S 

On the Go 

continued from page 53 

the hospital's roof and has several opera- 
tors assigned to report immediately to the 
hospital if the county activates any number 
of its disaster plans. Jim Bayless W4BAL 
was at the county Emergency Operations 
Center when I put out the call, and immedi- 
ately got the ball rolling. Soon we had one 
operator in the Emergency Department 
(Vern K0EGA); Jim in the lab; and Bob 
W4PRK covering cardiopulmonary, which 
includes respiratory therapy and EKG. 
When Roy W6QCM got in. he immediately 
set up in radiology and contacted his wife 
Gail KG4HZW. Gail began contacting other 
hams to ensure that if necessary, coverage 
would be scheduled for the next 24 hours. 

Working with die Senior Vice President 

of Nursing, we determined the most criti- 
cal areas to cover and ended up with Al 
N4TME assigned to the Intensive Care Unit, 
Gail covering the Cardiac Surgical Unit, and 
Norm W1TLZ covering the third floor nurs- 
ing station. When an emergency surgical 
case was begun, Roy was reassigned to the 
surgery office. Although the phone system 
was beginning to work again, in order to 
provide that extra layer of reliability it was 
decided that a ham was good (and cheap) 
insurance. After all, during repair operations 
we ail know stressed components can fail, 
or it may become necessary to remove and 
replace circuit boards or modules which will 
take the circuit offline. The hams provided 
the assurance that until everything was 
proven to be fully reliable, no patient would 
be at risk. 

The bottom line was that the hospital had 
planned effectively for such an emergency, 
and the Indian River Amateur Radio Club's 
role was included in their plan. The com- 
munications emergency was handled so that 
no serious disruptions occurred and most 
of the situation was transparent to the pa- 
tients in the hospital. While several elements 
of the plan did not work out exactly as an- 
ticipated, the multiple levels of redundancy 
worked out. Ham radio once again "rogered 
up" and made a big difference. 2 

Homing In 

continued from page 57 

My Web site has details of the Burrow- 
ing Owl Project, including all of the fre- 
quencies, equipment suggestions for 
monitoring and RDF. plus what to do if you 
hear a possible tag signal. If you're not on 
the Web, send me a self -addressed stamped 
envelope and I'll reply with a hard copy. To 
rapidly spread the word whenever signals 
are heard, I have just started the 
"biotrackers" Internet mailing list (also 
called a discussion group or reflector). To 
subscribe, send E-mail to [biotrackers-] with "subscribe" 
in subject and body. 

By the way, burrowing owls don't actu- 
ally hoot. As they fly at night, they emit 
loud cries. If you disturb one in its burrow, 
it may try to scare you away by mimicking 
a rattlesnake. r £t 

Say You Saw it In 73! 


Here are some of my books which 
can change your life (if you'll let 
'em). If the idea of being healthy, 
wealthy and wise interests you, start 
reading. Yes, you can be all that, but 
only when you know the secrets 
which I've spent a lifetime uncover- 


The Bioelectrifier Handbook: This 
explains how to build or buy (S155) a 
little electrical gadget that can help 
clean the blood of any virus, microbe, 
parasite, fungus or yeast. The process 
was discovered by scientists at the 
Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 
quickly patented, and hushed up. It's 
curing AIDS, hepatitis C, and a bunch 
of other serious illnesses. The circuit 
can be built for under S20 from the in- 
structions in the book. S10 (#01 ) 
The Secret Guide to Wisdom: This 
is a review of around a hundred books 
that will help you change your life. No, 
I don't sell these books, They're on a 
wide range of subjects and will help 
to make you a very interesting person. 
Wait' II you see some of the gems 
you've missed reading. S5 (#02) 
The Secret Guide to Wealth: Just as 
with health, you'll find that you have 
been brainwashed by "the system" into 
a pattern of life that will keep you from 
ever making much money and having 
the freedom lo travel and do what you 
want. I explain how anyone can get a 
dream job with no college, no resume, 
and even without any experience. I 
explain how you can gel someone to 
happily pay you to learn what you need 
to know to start your own business. S5 

The Secret Guide to Health: Yes. 
there really is a secret to regaining your 
health and adding 30 to 60 1 years of 
healthy living to your life. The answer is 
simple, but it means making some dif- 
ficult lifestyle changes. Will you be 
skiing the slopes of Aspen with me 
when you're 90 or doddering around 
a nursing home? Or pushing up dai- 
sies? No, I'm not selling any health 
products. 55 (#04) 

My WWII Submarine Adventures: 
Yes, I spent from 1 943- 1 945 on a sub- 
marine, right in the middle of the war 
with Japan. We almost got sunk several 
times, and twice I was in the right place 
at the right time to save the boat. 
What's it really like to be depth 
charged? And what's the daily life 
aboard a submarine like? How about 
the Amelia Earhart inside story?If 
you're near Mobile, please visit the 
Drum. $5 (#10) 

Wayne's Caribbean Adventures: My 
super budget travel stories - where I 

visit the hams and scuba dive most of 
the islands of the Caribbean, You'll 
love the special Liat fare which let me 
visit I] counn-ies in 21 days, diving 
all but one of the islands. Guadeloupe, 
where the hams kept me loo busy with 
parties. $5 (#12) 

Cold Fusion Overview: This is both 
a brief history of cold fusion, which I 
predict will be one of the largest in- 
dustries in the world in the 21st cen- 
tury, plus a simple explanation of how 
and why it works. This new Held is 
going to generate a whole new bunch 
of billionaires, just as the personal 
computer industry did. S5 (#20 > 
Cold Fusion Journal They laughed 
when I predicted the PC industry 
growth in 1975. PCs are now the third 
largest industry in the world. The cold 
fusion ground floor is suE wide open, 
but then that might mean giving up 
watching ball games. Sample: S10 (#22). 
Julian Schwinger: A Nobel laureate's 
talk about cold fusion — confirming its 
validity. $2 (#24) 

Improving State Government: Here 
are 24 ways that state governments can 
cut expenses enormously, while pro- 
viding far better service . I exp lain how 
any government bureau or department 
can be gotten to cut it's expenses by at 
least 50% in three years and do it co- 
operatively and enthusiastically. I ex- 
plain how, by applying a new technol- 
ogy, the state can make it possible to 
provide all needed services without 
having to levy any taxes at all! Read 
the book, run for your legislature, and 
let's get busy making this cuunU'y work 
like its founders wanted it to. Don't 
leave this for "'someone else" 10 do. S5 

Mankind's Extinction Predictions: If 
any one of the experts who have writ- 
ten books predicting a soon-to-come 
catastrophe which will virtually wipe 
most of us out are right, we're in 
trouble. In this book I explain about 
the various disaster scenarios, like 
Nostradamus, who says the poles will 
soon shift (as they have several times in 
the past), wiping out 979f of mankind. 
Okay, so he's made a long string of past 
lucky guesses. The worst part of these 
predictions is the accuracy record of 
some of the experts. Will it be a pole 
shift, a new ice age. a massive solar 
flare, a comet or asteroid, a bioterrorist 
attack? I'm getting read}', how about 
you? S5 (#3U 

Moondoggle: After reading Rene's 
book, NASA Mooned America, I read 
everything I could find on our Moon 
landings. I watched the videos, looked 
carefully at the photos, read the 
astronaut's biographies, and talked 
with some of my readers who worked 
for NASA. This book cites 25 good 
reasons I believe the wholeApollo pro- 
gram had to have been faked. $5 (#32) 
Classical Music Guide: A list of 100 
CDs which will provide you with an 
outstanding collection of the finest 
classical music ever written. This is 

what you need to help you reduce 
stress. Classical music also raises 
youngster's IQs, helps plants grow 
faster, and will make you healthier. Just 
wail'll you hear some of Gotschalk's fabu- 
lous music! $5 (#33) 
The Radar Coverup: Is police radar 
dangerous? Ross Adey K6UI, a world 
authority, confirms the dangers of ra- 
dio and magnetic fields. $3 (#34) 
Three Gatto Talks: A prize-winning 
teacher explains what's wrong with 
American schools and why our kids are 
not being educated. Why are Swedish 
youngsters, who start school at 7 years 
of age, leaving our kids in the dust? 
Our kids are intentionally being 
dumbed down by our school system 
— the least effective and most expen- 
sive in the world. S5 (#35) 
Aspartame: a.k.a. NutraSweet, the 
stuff in diet drinks, etc., can cause all 
kinds of serious health problems. Mul- 
tiple sclerosis, for one. Read all about 
it. two pamphlets for a buck. (#38) 
One Hour CW: Using this sneaky 
booklet even you can learn the Morse 
Code in one hour and pass that dumb 
5wpm HF entry test. S5 (#40) 
Code Tape (T5): This tape will teach 
you the letters, numbers and punctuation 
you need lo know if you are going on to 
learn the cade at 13 or 20 worn $5 (#41 ) 
Code Tape (T13): Onceyouknow the 
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immediately lo copying 13 wpm (us- 
ing my system). This should only take 
a couple of days. $5 (#42) 
Code Tape (T20): Or. you can start 
right out at 20 wpm and master it in a 
weekend. $5 (#43) 

Wayne Un-Dayton Talk: This is a 9Q : 
minute lape of the talk I'd have given 
at the Dayton, if invited. S5 (#50) 
Wayne Tampa Talk: This is the talk I 
gave at the Tampa Global Sciences 
conference — where I cover amateur 
radio, cold fusion, health, books you 
should read, and so on. S5 (#51 ) 
$1 Million Sales Video: The secret of 
how you can generate an extra mil- 
lion dollars in sales just by using PR. This 
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Reprints of My Editorials from 73. 

Very few tilings in litis world are as we've 
been taught, and as they appear. I blow 
the whistle on the scams around us, such 
as the health care, our school system,, our 
money, the drug war, a college education, 
sugar, the food giants, our unhealthy food, 
fluorides, EMFs, NutraSweet, etc. 

1996 Editorials: 120 pages, 100 choice 
editorials. S10 (#72) 

1997 Editorials: 148 fun-packed pages. 
216 editorials. S10 (#74) 

1998 Editorials: 16S pages that'll give 
you lots of controversial things to talk 
about on the air, S 1 (#75 ) 

1999 Editorials: 132 pages of ideas, 
book reviews, health, education, and 
anything else 1 think you ought to 
know about. $10 (#76) 

2000 Editorials: In the works. 
Silver Wire: With two 3-in. pieces of 
heavy pure silver wire + three 9V bat- 
teries you can make a thousand dol- 
lars' worth of silver colloid. What do 
you do with it? It does what the antibi- 
otics do, but germs can't adapt to it. 
Use it to gel rid of germs on food, for 
skin fungus, warts, and even to drink, 
Read some books on the uses of silver 
colloid, it's like magic. $ 15 (#80) 
Wayne's Bell Saver Kit. The cable 
and instructions enabling you to in- 
expensively tape Art Bell WfiOBB's 
nightly 5-hr radio talk show. $5 (#83) 
NH Reform Party Keynote Speech. 
It wow'd 'em when I laid out plans 
for NH in 2020, with much better, yet 
lower-cost schools, zero state taxes, far 
betler health careTU more responsive 
slate government, etc. $1 (#85) 
Stuff I didn't write, hut you need: 
NASA Mooned America: Rene 
makes an air-tighl case that NASA 
faked the Moon landings. This book 
will convince even you. $25 (#90) 
Last Skeptic of Science: This is 
Rene's book where he" debunks a bunch 
of accepted scientific beliefs - such as 
the ice ages, the Earth being a magnet, 
the Moon causing the tides, and etc. S25 

Dark Moon: 568 pages of carefully re- 
searched proof thai the Apollo Moon 
landings were a hoax — a capping blow 
for Rene's skeptics. $35 (#92) 

r ' 

Box 416, Hancock NH 03449 




■ Address 


I Use [he numbers in the brackets or copy page and mark (he books you warn. Add S3 s/h per lotal 

'order in US [S5 priority mail!. $6CatL Sit) foreign, 

I Order total: USS Phone i lor reorders) 

MC'/Visa for orders over $10. #_ 

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I ■ phone orders: (503-525-4747 ■ tax: 603-588-32O5 > w2nsdl&> 
■ □ Yes! Put me down for a year of 73 for only 125 (a steal). Canada US$32. Foreign US$44 by sea. 
I D I'd like to get more romance into my dreary life so send me. your How-To-Dance Videos catalog. 
□ I need some industrial strength stress reduction so send me your Adventures 1" Music CD catalog 
I Al low 4 wee k s for rjeaivefye x cept foreigrh th o ugh we irv to eel mo s t ord e rs sh i pped in a day or two. _J 

73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 63 

Barter 'n' Buy 

Turn your old ham and computer gear into cash now. Sure, you can wait for a hamfest to try and dump it, but you know you'lf get a far more 

realistic price if you have it out where 100,000 active ham potential buyers can see it, rather than the few hundred local hams who come by 

a flea market table. Check your attic, garage, cellar and closet shelves and get cash for your ham and computer gear before it's too old to 

sell. You know you're not going to use it again, so why leave it for your widow to throw out? That stuff isn't getting any younger! 

The 73 Flea Market, Barter 'n' Buy, costs you peanuts (almost)— comes to 35 cents a word for individual (noncommercial!) ads and $1 .00 

a word for commercial ads. Don't plan on telling a long story. Use abbreviations, cram it in. But be honest, There are plenty of hams who love 

to fix things, so if it doesn't work, say so. 

Make your list, count the words, including your call, address and phone number. Include a check or your credit card number and expiration. 

If you're placing a commercial ad, include an additional phone number, separate from your ad. 

This is a monthly magazine, not a daily newspaper, so figure a couple months before the action starts; then be prepared. If you get too many 

calls, you priced it low. If you don't get many calls, too high. 

So get busy. Blow the dust off, check everything out, make sure it still works right and maybe you can help make a ham newcomer or retired 

old timer happy with that rig you're not using now. Or you might get busy on your computer and put together a list of small gear/parts to send 

to those interested? 

Send your ads and payment to: 73 Magazine, Barter 'n' Buy, 70 Hancock Rd., Peterborough NH 03458 and get set for the 
phone calls. The deadline for the March 2001 classified ad section is January 10, 2001 . 

President Clinton probably doesn't have a copy 
of Tormet's Electronics Bench Reference but you 
should. Check it out at [ 
index.htm] — over 100 pages of circuits, tables, 
RF design information, sources, etc. BNB530 

250 pictures/prices. $12 postpaid. ARTIFAX 
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Great New Reference Manual with over 100 pgs 
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2SC1972, MRF247, MRF455, MB8719, 2SC1307, 
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Cash for Collins: Buy any Collins Equipment. 
Leo KJ6HI.Tel./FAX (310)670-6969. [radioleo©]. BNB425 

Browse our web site and check out the 
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Thomas Appleby (copyright 1967). Second print- 
ing available from JOHAN K.V. SVANHOLM 
RIES, P.O. Box 81 , Washington DC 20044. Please 
send $25.00 donation with $5.00 for S&H. 


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64 73 Amateur Radio Today • December 2000 

WITHOUT HANGUPS Johan N3RF. Send $1 .00 
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ASTRON power supply, brand-new w/warranty, 
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"box of batteries" for hundreds of dollars? Current 
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UN'lTtlTSTATES POSTAL SERVICE*" Statement of Ownership, Manage- 
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Amateur Radio Today (2) Publication No.: 1052-2522 (3) Filing Date: 10- 
01 -00 (4) Issue frequency: Monthly (5) No. of issues Published Annually: 
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and Complice Mailing Addresses of Publisher, Editor, arid MftiiiVging Editor: 
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Holding 1 Percent or More of Total Amount of Bunds. Mortgages, or Other 
Securities: None fi2) (For completion by nonprofit ocgflfrrzarjotis) 113) 
Publication Name; 73 Amateur Radio Today (J.4J Issue Date for Circulation 
Data Below: May 2CJ0U { IS) Extent, and Nature of Circulation.; Average No. 
Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months; Actual No. Copies of 
Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date (a) Total No. Copies (Net 
Press Run) 13,694; 12,786 (b> Paid andfor requested Circulation - (1.1 Paid/ 
Requested Outside-County Mail Subscriptions Stated nn Form 3541. (In- 
clude advertiser's proof and exchange copies) 11,945; 10,991 (2) Paid In- 
County Subscriptions Slated on Form 3541 0; (3} Sales Through Dealers 
and Carriers, Street Vendors, Counter Sales, and Oilier Non-USFS Paid Dis- 
tribution 1,108: 1.077 (4) Odier Classes Mailed Through the USPS 100; 100 
tc) Total Paid and/or Requested Circulation [Sum of 15b(V), (2), (3), and (4)1 
13,153; 12,168 (dj Free Distribution by Mail (Samples, Complimentary, and 
Other Preej O) Outside- County as Stated on Form 3541 0: (2) m-Cuunly 
as Stated on From 3541 0: (3) Other Classes Mailed Through the USPS 
250; 250 (e) free Distribution Outside die Mail (Gamers or Other. Means) 0; 
(fj Total Free Distribution (Sum of 15d and 15c) 250; 250 (g) Total Distri- 
bution (Sum of 15c and 150 13,403; 12,44.8 (U) Copies NotDistributed'291; 
3oS til Total (Sum of 15g and 15hJ 13,694; 12,786 (j) Percent Paid and/or 
Requested" Circulation (lSc/isg x 100) 9&%; 98% (16) This Statement of 
Ownership will be printed in the December '00 issue of this publication. 
1 17) Signature and Tide of Editor, Publisher. Business Manager, or Owner; 
Frances Hyvarlnen Date;i0- 55-00, T certify diat all information furnished on 
this form is true and complete. ( understand drat anyone who furnishes, false 
or misleading information on (his form or who omits material or information 
requested on die form may be Subject 10 criminal sanctions (Tnctumjig fines 
and imprisonment) and/or civil satin ions. v.nfludmg civil penalties).